Our house has always been the party house. We have hosted all holiday parties, birthday parties, meetings – any reason to get together. I love to cook and entertain. So I’ve had to rethink how to socialize with family and friends in a safe and responsible way. At first, it seemed cumbersome, but as months pass, I realized that I can do this. Here are my tips on Socially Responsible Gatherings.
I just built a redwood deck and 3 bistro tables with 2 chairs per table. I also remodeled my kitchen deck with 2 bistro tables with 2 chairs per table. The tables are set 6 feet apart. Being outdoors is much safer than indoors.
Rather than dinners with late-night activities, I’m planning afternoon gatherings when we can be outside.
Instead of having 25-50 people, I am inviting just one or two couples. While it’s fun to have huge bashes, it’s also fun to talk to a few friends and really catch up on our lives, politics, and our families. Besides, it’s easier to manage 2-4 people than 25-50. I’ll just need to have more Socially Responsible Gatherings to see all of my friends and family!
Everyone will wear masks except while eating. That means that they’ll wear masks as they serve themselves, walk to the bathroom, and while talking at their bistro tables. If everyone wears a mask, we show respect for one another and we keep our germs (and viruses) to ourselves.
Have a bottle of hand sanitizer at every table and any location where guests may visit. This reduces the risk of spreading viruses.
I’m planning individual servings that don’t require sharing serving spoons. Burritos, tacos, shish kabobs, wraps, and sushi maki are all easy to grab – and they don’t require serving utensils. No more taco bars or buffet-style dining. Guests serve themselves using their utensils one at a time. When the first guest is done getting their food, the next guest goes up so only one person at a time is near the food. Good social distancing.
Plates and Utensils:
Everyone brings their own plates, utensils, drinking containers, napkins, and whatever they’re drinking. At the end of the meal, guests put their dishes and utensils in their cloth bags and put them in their cars. That way I won’t be touching their dinnerware and placing them in my dishwasher. I won’t worry about a bunch of people in my kitchen touching the faucet, fridge, cabinets, and everything.
By having sanitizing wipes in the restroom, guests can wipe the toilet handle, toilet seat, door knob, and any surface they touch as they exit the bathroom and head back to the deck.
When guests are ready to leave, they’ll take their dinnerware and trash/recycling with them. I’ll take the serving trays up to the kitchen for washing and storing. Then I’ll disinfect the chairs, tables, serving area, railings, bathroom, and areas where guests may have visited in the house.
While this is a different way to party, we can still have fun. We can catch up, play games, and enjoy each other’s company. Before the event, I send a Socially Responsible Gathering Guidelines to guests so they understand the new protocol and will feel reassured that they’ll be safe. Check out my tips to create your Socially Responsible Gatherings.