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How To Safely Spend Time Together

How To Safely Spend Time Together

By Marisa Rubin on Nov 19th 2020

It’s that time of year—winter. While the strain of staying indoors can become quite stressful during the dark, cold months, the added factor of COVID-19 makes it even more difficult to stay social and keep up with a positive morale.

So, how can you safely gather with your friends and family when it’s too cold to just sit outside? Now’s the time to get creative while learning to adapt to this new terrain. While not all of the ideas below might work for your accommodations, you might be able to branch off of one or share with a friend, colleague, or family member.

  • Alternate Entrance

    If possible, have your guests walk around the outside of your home so there’s less foot traffic inside your house. Make sure to let them know ahead of time so they don’t ring your doorbell upon arrival.

  • A Safe “Hello!”

    Whether it’s been months or days since you’ve seen each other, make sure to not get overly excited when saying “Hello.” Keep it safe and greet each other with an air hug or air high-fives.

  • Garage Hangs

    While your garage might be full of things that you intend to “use one day,” it can also be a great spot to hang out without concern for the elements. If you have too many things that you think look unsightly, take some blankets or bed sheets and cover them up. Hang up some fun twinkle lights or move a floor lamp or two into the garage for a nice ambiance. Set up some tables, chairs, or even a couch if you have one. You can create a really cool area, just move the car into the street, and voila!

  • Create A Space

    If a garage isn’t an option, set up a tent/canopy outside your garage or in your yard to help keep the sun, rain, and/or snow away—the plus side is that the open walls allow for great airflow. Or, allow the kids to get creative and make a fort outside (if the weather permits). Keep in mind how many people are going to be inside the structure and allow for 6-foot spacing.

  • Keep Warm

    Not only are fire pits great for s’mores, they also provide a nice amount of heat to keep you (and your guests) warm. If your budget allows, outdoor heaters are also a great idea. If you’re bundled up (scarf, coat, thick socks, etc.), single-use hand warmers are perfect to keep everyone toasty as well.

  • Solo Server

    If you’re having guests over for a meal, instead of “family” or “buffet” style, designate one person for serving food. This helps to eliminate the passing of germs through the use of a serving utensil. For an extra layer of safety, make sure this designated person wears disposable gloves.

  • Single Servings

    Instead of having a full meal, opt for single-serving snacks such as personal bags of chips or pre-made options. This way, guests can just grab what they want without needing to have a designated person dishing out the food.

  • Keep It Clean

    We all know that every now and then “nature calls.” But remember that you’re trying to keep the foot traffic inside your home to a minimum. If a guest needs to use the restroom (and if you have multiple restrooms to use), make sure to designate which one is to be used. Keep it stocked with disinfecting hand soap and disposable hand towels. Do not use a cloth hand towel, as it can be a breeding ground for germs.

  • Sanitize, Sanitize, Sanitize

    Make sure to place bottles of hand sanitizer all around the house and areas of gathering. Upon the arrival of your guests, indicate where these sanitizing stations are so they can use them at their leisure.

  • Have Fun

    Keep kids active to stay warm—use a pool noodle and chase the kids for “noodle tag.” Create an obstacle course in the backyard for kids to get out all of their energy.

  • Mask Up!

    Make sure to wear a mask, except when eating or drinking. It’s also a good idea to have a basket filled with single-use masks for any guests who may accidentally forget theirs. BONUS: A mask can help keep your face warm in the winter months!

  • Movie Time!

    If you’re in an area that allows for nice weather, a fun idea would be to set up an outside projector for movies. You can create a cute “drive-in-style” theater experience by placing pillows outside (6 feet apart), each with its own blanket, treats, and whatever else you think would make the evening a magical movie time.

  • Virtual Face-To-Face

    If you don’t want to deal with having to clean up your home or make sure that it’s compliant for social distancing, organize a Zoom or Facetime hangout session with your friends and/or family. You can even send out games via email/text that you can play with them, even from afar. You could even send out an invite for a specific time of day (brunch, dinner) and have everyone sign onto the platform at that time, while enjoying a special meal—virtually—together. The beauty of 2020 is that technology is on our side when it comes to keeping in touch with loved ones.

As the current climate seems to be ongoing, with no end in sight, it’s truly important to keep some sense of normalcy while also adhering to health guidelines. Call or send text messages to your friends and family, think of fun ways to get any creative energy out, and learn to embrace this unprecedented time in history. Who knows, you might end up learning a new craft or having a much overdue conversation with someone. It’s all about perspective, so take a deep breath and look forward to the amazing memories you’ll make while keeping safe, whether together or apart.