It might seem crazy. Or sound absurd. It may feel absolutely dangerous.
But if you’re sick and tired of being alone. And if you’re feeling the misery of four months of loneliness and isolation from the coronavirus shutdowns. There MAY be a way to FINALLY enjoy some honest-to-goodness contact with your friends and loved ones.
You just have to do it the RIGHT way.
Because new reports show that in some cases, with careful planning and strict rule-following, you might be able to see some friends and family again, despite the pandemic.
Because while the only way to stay 100 percent safe is to stay locked inside with zero contact. There ARE steps you can take to drastically reduce your risk if you’re ready to see a few friends or loved ones.
6 steps to a SAFER summer gathering
Bernard J. Wolfson, editor of California Healthline, writes that the shutdowns shouldn’t stop us from spending a little (careful) time with loved ones.
“Our mental health is too important to avoid them,” he wrote.
His report and several others look at how people have been able to spend time together while minimizing the risks of getting sick. And it boils down to six easy-to-follow gathering steps which I’ve compiled here for you.
1: Pre-screen. Limit your gatherings to a small number of people, not the open invitations of a typical summer get-together. You should shoot for under ten. And limit those invited to people who are, like you, taking steps to avoid the virus and closely following all guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19.
2: Set the ground rules. Anyone coming to the gathering has to be willing to stick to the plan. That means not coming close to each other – including no handshakes and hugs. And of course, everyone should monitor themself beforehand and not attend if they’re not feeling well for any reason, not just COVID-19 symptoms.
3: Outdoors only. If you want to meet up with friends and family, stick to the backyard, front lawn, or driveway. Also, if you have a lightly trafficked outdoor public space such as a neighborhood park or square, you could even meet there, as long as you have plenty of space to spread out so you can keep apart.
4: Set everything up in advance. Know who’s coming to the gathering and set up some chairs for each household arriving. And keep each set of chairs at least six feet from the others (ideally more; for ultimate safety aim for 10 feet). And continue to wear masks except when eating.
5: Go BYOE. Bring your own EVERYTHING. It removes the fun of grilling burgers for the gang. But it also eliminates all contact if everyone brings their own food and drink. But as a bonus, you get to eat exactly what you want. No having to choke down Aunt Sue’s dip.
6: No one goes into the house except the folks who live there. The virus can accumulate better in indoor spaces, and you absolutely don’t want that. So that means limiting your gathering to people who live nearby – for now – so no one has to use your bathroom.
Remember, the safest option is still to avoid direct contact with others, keep to social distancing guidelines, and wear a mask when out in public.
Of course, don’t do ANYTHING that violates local health orders. And skip the gathering if you’re in an area with widespread outbreaks, where your best option is still to hunker down for now.
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