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Four tips for hosting a safe gathering

Parties with family and friends, concerts, movies, and sporting events now fill calendars, much as they did before the world learned of COVID-19. Even though the novel coronavirus that arrived in late 2019 remains a concern, the vast number of people who have been vaccinated and boosted, or have developed antibodies, has allowed people to return to a more normal life.

While COVID-19 once was a major safety concern for party hosts and hostesses, it’s not the only safety issue that can affect social activities. When hosting any gathering – whether it’s an intimate cocktail party or a backyard bash – hosts can heed these safety guidelines.

Pace/control alcoholic beverages

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says every day 32 people die in drunk-driving crashes in the United States. That equates to one person every 45 minutes. These deaths are all preventable, and one of the simplest ways is to limit opportunities for people to drive drunk.

Party hosts are responsible for monitoring guests’ drinking. Spacing out drinks and limiting access to alcohol can keep guests from becoming overly intoxicated. Stop serving alcoholic beverages two hours before the party ends so there’s little opportunity to drive intoxicated. Provide alternative transportation to those guests who still may be unsafe to drive.

Make safety products available

Even though COVID-19 is no longer first and foremost on the minds of people, it has not completely vanished. New variants of the virus are still developing, and many of these spread much more easily than prior versions, even if they produce milder symptoms. Recommendations to stop the spread continue to be relevant today. Wipe down surfaces, mask up if you will be in close contact, improve ventilation, and encourage regular hand washing or use of hand sanitizer in the party space.

Opt for single-serve foods

Communal buffet dishes mean crowds are scooping from the same pan or pot. To reduce the potential spread of any unwanted pathogens, consider offering pre-portioned items that guests can grab and go. Food already portioned out on to small plates or in cups can reduce the risk of cross-contamination for those with food allergies.

Minimize entry points

Avoid the pitfalls of an invite-only event becoming a free-for-all, which can occur when teens or young adults host parties. Have one entry and put a responsible adult in charge of checking invitations at the door. Similarly, have a plan in place should any guests get out of hand.

Safety should be a concern at any party, large or small. Some simple strategies can ensure everyone has a safe and fun time.

 

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