Ten ways to host a safe, healthy holiday party
Living through this year hasn’t been a small feat, but the biggest party season is here with us. As much as we’d like for things to be “business as usual” this holiday, planning for parties would require a little more work to keep guests happy and healthy. Milliam Murigi shares some tips on how you can safely host a gathering amid the Covid pandemic.
Keep the guest list short
You can manage this by limiting your guest list to people in your household. However, if you would like to expand the number of people whom you’ll interact with, you can do so by creating a small network of trusted friends or relatives, known as a social bubble, who agree to abide by a shared set of rules to try to keep everyone safe from Covid-19.
But remember the fewer people you invite, the less risk you pose to your guests.
Practice social distance
Keep your guests one meter apart. You can do this by spacing out the chairs at the dining table or prepare two or three dining tables and split the gathering into two or three groups, so that people don’t have to sit close together.
Ban hugs AND handshakes
Christmas is mainly about families. It is an opportunity for families to come together and make merry, and with this, hugging and shaking hands are common.
While the two are not against the law, it is not suited for this Christmas. If you want your family to survive to be hugged again, you must fight the urge to shake hands and hugging them and go for elbow or leg bumps instead. If you must hug, make sure you have your facemask on.
Insist on the facemask
The problem with family gatherings is that it is extremely hard for people to keep their physical distance.
In this case, mask must be a necessary ingredient. Make it a house rule that everybody must always have their masks on, except when they are eating of course.
With indoor transmission known to be a key factor in the spread of the coronavirus, having your festivities outside could be so much safer than indoors.
Because of this, you need to consider hosting more of this year’s Christmas celebrations outdoors.
It is much easier to observe the two-metre rule apart when people are not clammed up in a limiting indoor space.
But if you can’t host outside, make sure the house is well ventilated; if possible, keep the doors and windows open for the party’s entirety.
Emphasise on hand washing
Encourage the attendees to wash their hands often with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds.
If soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitiser that contains at least 70 per cent alcohol.
Drop the towel
During most family gatherings, many hosts prefer hanging a hand-drying towel near the hand washing points or at the bathrooms’ entrance for all to use. This is dangerous during this pandemic.
Instead, make use of disposable paper towels. Disposable tissues are better than even jet dryers at removing pathogens missed by ineffective washing.
Forget the buffet
It could be safer to designate one or two persons to handle and serve food for the gathering.
This will help ensure that multiple people are not handling the serving utensils and crowding at the buffet. You should also limit how many surfaces guests have to touch.
Taking this extra precaution provides everyone with the reassurance that they won’t be handling previously touched and potentially contaminated products.
Consider using disposable plates, flatware, napkins and tablecloths. Once done, these single-use products should be properly disposed.
Alcohol drinking or drug use lowers inhibitions. It can also cloud judgement and increase chances of risky behaviour.
If possible, make your event alcohol or drug free, so that attendees will have the self consciousness to make safe decisions, especially pertaining the Covid-19.