With the Provincial and Federal Government greenlighting phase 2 and the social distancing rules getting a little more relaxed, it can get confusing on what’s allowed and what’s not. July is next week and BBQ season is just starting so, how do we wade through the rules around BBQs. In this post, I am going to help guide you through navigating how to plan a safe BBQ and what you can do to keep others safewhen you are attending. A pandemic still happening and certain people are still vulnerable.
What is a Post-Quarantine BBQ, and Why Do I Need to Prepare?
A post-quarantine BBQ is a safe and clean space to reunite with friends and family after spending time in quarantine. Family bubbles have been lifted to 10 people andlook to soon be expanding to more soon. But do you have someone in your bubble that has a history of getting too close to people or doesn’t see boundaries around food? Do you have family members who love to hug but you don’t know how to say ‘Sorry maybe next time’? That’s okay because I know plenty of families who have people who play similar roles. Trying to figure out what everyone is used to doing and preparing for how to talk to them about personalspace boundaries can be a challenging thing to doespecially when you haven’t seen this person in a longtime.
At the same time someone is opening their home upand they know the risk they are taking that someonecould have COVID-19 without showing symptoms.Being a guest (yes, I know we are outside but the riskis still there) is a responsibility that must be takenseriously. There are steps you can take to keepyourself and the people around you safe.
Plus, now isthe time to reinvent yourself as a guest. Were you the type that left just before people starting cleaning up? Were you the guest that would leave their plates whereby Unknown Author is licensed under they last left them just happening to ‘forget’ about it? You now can change old habits into new ones.
How to Host
Hosting a BBQ was easy. You could set it up any way that you wanted and ask people to bring things if they (you) wanted to. Now you must make sure that you and your guests are following the social distancing guidelines that are currently in place. When hosting a BBQ, research your areas’ current rules on BBQs and visitors. Different regions and cities have different rules so make sure you aren’t accidentally breaking them. Currently, in Ontario, we are allowed to have up to ten people who we can interact with within the 2-metre mark.
Filling a few hours with fun activities everyone will enjoy will keep everyone’s minds from the social distancing. Games like water balloon fights, three-legged races, charades can all be played in a large space where you can keep contact to a minimum but also keeping the distancing.
When it comes to food you have several options. You can ask you, guests, to bring their food from home while you make the main BBQ dish you plate up on behalf of everyone. This way your guests don’t have to worry about the food they haven’t seen prepared and it’s easier on you when you are preparing /cleaning up (plus your guests get their dishes back that same night!)
Speaking of dishes, if drinks are going to be a factor at your BBQ or backyard party run out to the dollar store or Walmart to get cups where you can write or scratch people’s names onto a label. That way people aren’t getting drinks mixed up and catching something that hasn’t been showing yet.
When hosting a gathering with your family and friends being clear with your expectations might be a hard conversation to have. My recommendation is to send out a detailed invitation to your guests outlining all the guidelines you wish for them to follow. This also lets you add different BBQ options, RSVPs and a line that says when the party is expected to end. Hosting a backyard get-together isn’t supposed to be stressful. It’s a time to see people you haven’t seen in months without having to look at a screen. No one is expecting the world from you quite yet.
How to Attend
Being a guest is a chance to unwind and hang out with your friends. However, during these trying times, guests might need to start putting in a little more effort. How can you be a better guest? How can I be a better guest? Think about your party habits. Help your host out by offering to wipe things down or to pick up garbage throughout the day. Did you bring your young kids with you? Don’t let them just let them loose. Go over the social distancing rules with them and how they must remember to keep their hands to themselves. Bringing your hand sanitizer is a might be a good idea. Let’s you know for a fact that your kid (or spouse) has got clean hands.
Have you noticed that you are one of the last to leave? Have you noticed the hosts having secret side conversations even though it’s just you and them? Knowing when it’s time to leave is key when trying to limit the amount of exposure you are putting yourself in.
Setting time boundaries lets your guests know when you expect them out of your home ensures that you have plenty of time to clean up including sanitizing everything. You still want to have a good time but keeping your visit short limits the amount of time, you are spreading your germs around another person’s home.
Check out these other tips to help you plan out a great backyard party.
10 Tips and Reminders for Social Distancing and Summer BBQs
- Bring your sides from home and bring your garbage home with you.
- Bring extra hand sanitizer so you have peace of mind about your hands and how clean they are.
- Make up detailed invitations or a Facebook group where you can give your guests the information and expectations they need.
- Keep games active, spacious but still fun (water balloon fights, horseshoes, that game that you throw a bean bag into a hole).
- Pre-portion anything that’s coming off the grill before your guests get to it. Keeps the cross-contamination to a minimum and makes sure everyone gets an equal share.
- If you are the one at the BBQ, section off the area in front of it if you are able too. Keeps people back and lets the BBQ master do what they need to do.
- If you, your spouse, or children aren’t feeling well – stay home. Just stay home. If you can put off not seeing them for this long, a few more days shouldn’t be the end of the world.
- Keep everyone outside and limit the number of people coming in and out of your home. Bathroom trips, people who need to breastfeed their children and the owners of the home should be the few people that might need to go inside but it’s July and the weather is nice out! You’ve spent two months inside why would you want to go back in?
- If you are within walking/biking distance of the BBQ or backyard party do it. If you must drive, make sure that you are not blocking any bike lanes or blocking anyone’s driveway.
- Keep relaxed. No one is expecting you to roll out the red carpet and pop open the expensive wine (unless that’s the type of party and in that case, I want an invite).
This is a time to see people you haven’t seen in a while. A time to see your mother since you don’t have a ‘quarantine’ excuse anymore. We can still salvage this summer. We can still do it.