Coronavirus Entertaining: 10 ways to make small social pod gatherings safer 

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This past weekend, I engaged in some daring, foolhardy behavior. No, I didn’t recklessly speed past a police car, or skydive into the mouth of a volcano. This weekend I ―  don’t judge ― had friends over for dinner. Gasp! I know. It’s risky, but my husband and I thought it through, as did our friends, another couple who were equally stir crazy. We were consenting adults.

Apart from an occasional family member, DC and I hadn’t had company to the house in six months. I had started talking to myself. Zoom book club wasn’t enough. I craved live interaction.

Apparently, I’m not alone in my desire to entertain other humans. A July report of outdoor living décor trends from Living Spaces, a California-based furniture retailer, revealed a significant uptick in shopper interest in outdoor furnishings since the pandemic, according to data from Google Analytics. Interest in Adirondack chairs in the month of July was up 21 percent over the same month last year. Hammocks were up 25 percent and fire pits 19 percent.

“As we adapt to a new way of life that encourages social distancing, outdoor spaces have become the preferred setting for gatherings,” says Living Spaces stylist Shelby Greene.

Even though more people appear to be hosting get togethers, not all are admitting it publicly for fear of getting The Look. As I searched for ways to entertain outdoors responsibly, I turned to health experts for suggestions. Though all acknowledge that sitting home alone with a mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer is safest, they also concede that low-risk interaction with others is possible, if you’re careful.

Now I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t have friends over. I am saying, if you are like me and want to gather with a small number of friends, entertain responsibly. To avoid sharing more than your hospitality, here are 12 tips from experts, including the Centers for Disease Control, for hosting a safer get together:

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1. Choose the right guests. Know where they’ve been, whether they have knowingly been exposed to the virus, or have any health issues that put them at higher risk. Travelers, the elderly, some healthcare workers and those with underlying conditions should stay home. In our case, the other couple had, like us, been living pretty isolated lives and weren’t in a risk group.

2. Take it outside. Fresh air is your friend and a great defense against spreading germs. Risk of transmitting infection goes up indoors. At our evening get together, we cooked and ate outside.

3. Keep the party small. Invite no more than a few guests. The number of people you invite isn’t as important as the number of households represented. Each house is considered a quarantine unit. The more units, the greater the risk.

4. Skip the physical greetings. As guests come and go, stick to verbal hellos and wave good-bye.

5. Spread out. Set up seating to allow for social distancing. My husband and I sat next to each other on one side of a wide table outdoors, and our friends …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News


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