10 Things You Need to Know Before Having Company Over

Consider this important info as you make decisions about entertaining this summer and beyond.

Social Resposibility

How to socialize during coronavirus

Time was, throwing summertime barbecues and pool parties simply meant making sure you had enough food, ice, and charcoal to entertain your crowd. Now, everything is a lot more complicated—including whether or not it’s even safe to entertain at all. Medical realities and risks differ by locality, and they seem to change daily. To protect yourself and loved ones from COVID-19 transmission, always follow the latest local guidelines regarding group activities. If your area states that there should be no gatherings of any size, don’t invite folks from outside your household. If local ordinances place a limit on the number of people who can gather together, do not host a social event that exceeds that number.


It’s Not Over Yet

Coronavirus is not over

While lockdown orders are gradually being lifted, COVID-19 remains a serious threat that’s still on the rise in some parts of the country. In fact, the “old normal” may well be a thing of the past as we try to figure out new ways to have fun with family and friends while making health and safety our top priority. Click on for crucial info and smart recommendations to keep in mind while you evaluate your own circumstances to cope with the ongoing viral threat.

Related: 12 Healthy Habits to Keep Even After Covid-19


Keep It Outside

Socializing outside is safer

Being in the fresh air can limit the risk of contagion. So if you’re craving social interaction, take it to your patio or head to a park. It’s particularly important, says the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), to increase space between yourself and folks who you rarely interact with because you don’t know about their travel patterns or daily routines. How to obtain a COVID-19 test varies from state to state, but typically, anyone who wants a test should call their healthcare provider for a referral.


Demand Masks

Wear masks during coronavirus

According to the World Health Organization, current evidence suggests that COVID-19 is transmitted mainly from person to person via respiratory droplets. Droplets spread through sneezing, coughing, and close contact. A mask acts as a barrier to those infected droplets. If you decide to socialize in person—inside or outside—a mask can drastically reduce the risk of transmission. If you’re the host, find a fun way to tell guests that masks are expected party attire, and have disposals on hand in case someone forgets. If you intend to hire workers (e.g., a cleaner, caterer, or repairperson), check the company’s policy about masks. If there isn’t one, insist that workers wear masks while on your premises.


Cover Correctly

Wear a mask correctly

All your efforts are for naught if you don’t cover your face properly. Wash hands before putting on your mask, and ensure that it covers your nose and mouth. Secure the mask so that it fits snugly without hampering your breathing. When wearing a mask, don’t touch your face or rub your eyes. For more information on mask wearing, check out the CDC’s recommendations.

Related: 7 Cleaners That the EPA Recommends Against the Coronavirus


Keep Your Distance

Keep social distance during coronavirus

While masks are an essential factor in limiting virus transmission, the CDC recommends that people also maintain a 6-foot gap between one another whenever possible. If you plan to host a backyard bash, keep this distance in mind when organizing seating.


Self-Isolate If Necessary

Self-isolate after traveling

People returning home to live with parents, as well as those who have been traveling domestically or abroad, may need to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return, depending on state or local government requirements. Until you are sure you’re not infected with COVID-19, keep your distance from people in your household—especially those at higher risk for complications from the virus. Postpone any social engagements with folks outside your household until after the 14-day self-isolation period.

Related: 14 Ways You Can Keep Healthy Without Leaving the House


Cleaning vs Disinfecting

Disinfect during coronavirus

Cleaning and disinfecting your home frequently can limit the risk of virus transmission. When someone enters your home, they might bring any number of pathogens inside with them, contaminating any surfaces they touch. Cleaning reduces the amount of dirt and germs on surfaces while disinfecting kills germs, including illness-causing ones. Check out the CDC’s recommendations for how to effectively disinfect surfaces.


Prepare Your Bathroom

Bathroom safety during coronavirus

Sticking to outdoor gatherings is easy in the summer—except for when guests need to use the bathroom. Prolonged indoor exposure to others poses the highest risk, so a quick trip to the bathroom shouldn’t be a problem as long as adequate precautions are taken: 

  • Disinfect surfaces immediately after someone uses the facilities. Keep a disinfectant on display (the Environmental Protection Agency has a list of products effective against COVID-19) and remind guests to disinfect surfaces before they exit with a little sign.  
  • Ensure that there’s ample soap available in the bathroom. 
  • Open a window (if available) and keep the ventilation fan on. 
  • Discourage people from using the bathroom one right after the other.
  • If you have multiple bathrooms, direct people to the one closest to your  home’s exit.


Ventilation is Vital

Increase ventilation during coronavirus

A scientific analysis of various incidences of contagion suggests that ventilation is a critical factor in limiting the spread of COVID-19. People in close quarters for a prolonged period with poor ventilation is a recipe for disaster. In case of a situation that makes you feel you must invite people indoors, check that your HVAC system is running effectively and replace air filters if necessary prior to entertaining. If company comes in inside, increase ventilation by opening windows and doors.


It’s Fine to Serve Food

Food safety during coronavirus

According to the CDC, the risk of COVID-19 transmission via contaminated food is extremely low. You should, however, make sure to stick to proper food safety practices when preparing food. When enjoying food with guests, keep your distance to prevent the spread of potentially infected respiratory droplets. It’s also wise to use disposable plates, cups, and cutlery, and wear disposable gloves when cleaning up.


All Ages at Risk

Young people can get coronavirus

The devastating effect of COVID-19 on nursing homes across North America is impossible to ignore. But the elderly population isn’t the only one at risk. Smokers, people who are immunocompromised, and those with chronic conditions (e.g., lung and heart disease) are at a higher risk for coronavirus complications. Even if you don’t fall into these categories, it’s likely someone around you does—including service workers. There’s emerging evidence that COVID-19 is affecting greater numbers of young people, including a CDC report that showed that 38 percent of U.S. COVID-19-related hospitalizations included people between the ages of 20 and 54.


Stay Safe and Healthy

Stay Safe and Healthy

Keep this advice in mind when arranging to see friends and family. 


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