Fourth of July is right around the corner. A holiday filled with family friends, yummy food, delicious drinks and fun fireworks. While it will probably look a little different this year, I imagine that barbecues will still happen along with family get togethers and fireworks viewings. It is not crazy to think that after months of quarantine, people will want to get together with the people the care about. While getting together with others can be risky, thinking through ways to make the get together as safe as possible is a step in the right direction. Here are a few suggestions for how to make your barbecue just a little bit safer!
Keep it Outside. If you are able, have your barbecue in an outdoor area. A larger outdoor space can help people stay apart from each other, thus making social distancing a bit easier. Germs are also able to be more easily distributed outside, making it safer all around. When setting up, figure out if there is away for people to directly enter the outdoor area without entering the house. You can post a sign on your front door then little signs with right arrows or left arrows to direct people the correct way and have them use that entrance.
Set Up an Entry Station. Create a little station at the entry to the barbecue that has masks and hand sanitizer. Hopefully at this point everyone has their own cute mask, but you never know. Same with hand sanitizer. Create a little welcome sign and ask everyone to wear their mask and use a pump of hand sanitizer upon entry. You can get single use masks on Amazon (here, here and here) as well as hand sanitizer bottles (here, here and here).
Pre-Place Furniture. A lot can be accomplished by putting thought into set-up before the party even starts. Just like you would think through the buffet or drink table, think about furniture. Figure out how you can place furniture to accomplish social distancing. If you set up round tables to eat at, maybe only have 4 chairs instead of eight. If you have an outdoor couch/sectional, consider putting throw pillows on every other seat. You will know your set up best and can figure out how to make it work 🙂
Place Hand Sanitizer Throughout the Party. Just like you put a bottle at the entrance, put other bottles throughout where you are having the party. One bottle at each of the tables people would be eating at, by the appetizers, on the end tables by the couch, etc. You can get larger pump bottles of hand sanitizer (here, here and here), as well as smaller ones (here, here and here), to ensure all spaces are covered.
Single Serve Appetizers. One of my favorite things to plan for a party or barbecue is the appetizers. I love putting together an amazing cheese board or whipping up a batch of guacamole. It is just my favorite. However, a lot of this revolves around communal trays with lots of fingers touching lots of things. There are so many great single serve appetizer options (I am going to share some ideas tomorrow!) that can reduce cross-contamination. You can even put a little appetizer sign out stating what everything is and reminding people to not touch items they won’t eat.
Pre-Made Plates. By this, I mean creating plates for guests rather than having a buffet that everyone goes to. I love a buffet because everyone can take what they want, but it also means a lot of people touching a lot of the same things and potentially the food itself. Consider creating a little menu sign where you can list everything that is available, then ask you guests to tell you what they want. If you are really ambitious, you could create little food order cards for guests to fill out.
Consider Using Single Serve (Compostable/Recyclable) Paper-ware. Saying this is like putting a blade through my heart. Whenever we host things, I always try to use as many reusable items as possible. However, that means touching things with people’s germs on them and that is not the safest. There are a lot of great compostable or recyclable paper products out there these days that could be a great alternative. You can get packs of plates and utensils like this, this or this (utensils only), or separate plates, bowls, forks, spoons and knives. You could even wrap these up so people just have to grab a bundle.
Single Serve Beverages. Another way to avoid cross contamination and spreading germs is to only have single serve beverages, rather than bottles of wine or soda or big jugs of juice, cocktails or flavored water. You can also ask people to bring their own single serve beverages to cut down on costs a bit! Consider putting a drinks menu out with a reminder to not touch other beverages.
Sanitize Lawn Games. This may not be for everyone. Lol. But we have corn hole, croquet and giant Jenga that we like to put out parties/barbecues. However, this is (again) a lot of people touching the same items. I would hate to not have these out, so sanitizing them before everything gets started and asking people to use hand sanitizer before and while playing can help avoid spread of bad germs. A Games sign would be a good little reminder.
Prep Your Bathroom. Not the prettiest of topics, but SO important. There are so many times I have been to parties where there is one hand towel that is wet by the end of the day/night. It grossed me then and even more now. You can get get single use hand towels online or get dinner napkins from any local store (that is what I do) for people to use. You can also set out Clorox/Lysol wipes for folks to use on the toilet if they so choose. There is also no harm in putting a bottle of hand sanitizer in there as well. I would also try to limit use to one bathroom, so you don’t have to worry about disinfecting more than one!
I am sure there are so many other things that you could do to help, but I think this is an excellent start. No-one wants to get their fun taken away, so having fun in a safe way is more important than ever. If we are not safe now, it will be a whole lot longer until we won’t have to worry about things like this. Looking forward to a fun and safe Fourth of July! Until next time, friends… CML