As stay-at-home orders loosened across the country, boutiques, restaurants, gyms, and cinemas reopened yet public is still expected to observe social distancing. We’re most excited about the opportunity to reclaim our social lives. The question on everyone’s mind, however, is how to navigate this new normal safely.
Safety first before Parties this New Normal
Following an isolating quarantine, the desire to spend the holidays with family and friends is stronger than ever. However, just as businesses that have reopened have implemented new policies and safety procedures, we must also adjust to a new social norm.
What is Social Distancing?
Social distancing is a term that refers to maintaining a buffer zone between yourself and other people outside of your home. However, just because you’re engaging in social distancing does not preclude an in-person get-together.
Adult Social Distancing Activity Concepts
While getting together during the holidays may not be as simple as meeting at a local bar, there are still plenty of fun and safe ways to celebrate the holidays outdoors. Whether with or without children. Without, preferably. All of these social distancing birthday ideas for adults also work as covid-friendly group activities.
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What could be better on a hot sunny day than a pool party? Increase the volume of the music and set out coolers brimming with refreshing beverages. Invite guests to bring their towels and a pool float or raft, and then arrange them six feet apart in the pool. Don’t feel like swimming? Arrange outdoor cushions along the pool’s edge for guests to sit and dip their toes in, of course with a beverage in hand.
If your pool is small or you’re concerned about hosting an excessive number of guests, consider an all-day party or open house. Allow groups of friends or families to choose an hour to visit the pool, or stagger guests’ arrival times to avoid a crowd.
Outdoor Movie Night
Are you unable to make it to the drive-in? With just a sheet and a projector, you can host a DIY movie night under the stars. Poll the group to determine their favorite film, spread six-foot-apart blankets, and provide popcorn in individual bags—and it’s showtime!
A Park Picnic
If you do not have an outdoor space large enough to accommodate your group, plan a picnic in a park. Allow guests to bring their blankets and snacks to ensure that no one is more than six feet apart. If you’re looking to plan a physical activity, consider substituting field games such as frisbee, croquet, or cornhole for high-contact sports. Simply instruct players to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before touching the equipment.
Wine Tasting in the Open Air
If guests bring their wine glasses, a wine tasting is an excellent activity for social distancing. Each guest should bring their favorite bottle to share with the group, and one person should be designated to pour each round, ensuring that they are the only ones who touch the bottle.
However, what is the point of a wine tasting without cheese? While a large shared cheese board is out of the question, you can serve individually wrapped cheeses and mini baguettes to ensure that each guest has their own.
Children’s Social Distancing Activities
By their very nature, children despise following rules. Though it may require additional planning to pull off a safe and kid-friendly event, it is possible—even if playgrounds in your area remain closed. Allow your children to gather with a little creativity and a few simple safety precautions after months of virtual playdates and Zoom parties.
Pool Party Treasure Hunt
If your children are fans of pirates or mermaids, have them take turns searching for “treasure” at the shallow end, or the deep end for older children. Each participant should bring their goggles and towels. Utilize sinkable rings or toys that you already own, or invest in an affordable treasure set such as this one filled with shiny coins and faux jewels that will glisten at the pool’s bottom.
Private Movie Screening
Celebrate another year around the sun with a safe, socially isolated, and masked-up movie night. Numerous local theaters now allow hosts to rent the entire venue, allowing guests to properly disengage. Assure guests that they will have the entire theater to themselves and educate them about the mask requirements. Masks are typically required when one is not actively consuming food or beverages. Another possibility is to host an outdoor movie night or a virtual movie night. Utilize Chrome’s new browser extension “Netflix Party” to watch a family-friendly film together, even if you’re miles apart.
Outdoor Art Party
Sidewalk chalk is one of the best activities for socially distancing children. Each miniature guest should be given a concrete canvas that is six feet apart from the others and instructed to color inside it. Parents should bring their chalk and a lawn chair if they wish to stay and watch the artists create their masterpieces. While apart, create art!
Scavenger Hunt in the Community
Another of our favorite social distancing activities for neighbors, classmates, or playmates is a casual scavenger hunt. Make a list of items in and around your community for your small guests to discover, from a plastic flamingo to a bright yellow front door. Divide into small groups, with at least one adult in charge, to allow everyone to maintain their distance. Award prizes to the first and second teams that successfully locate everything on the list.
Birthday Drive-by Parade
If you’re not quite ready to have a crowd of miniature guests over, host a drive-by birthday parade. Invite guests to drive by simultaneously with their decorated cars and birthday signs. Encourage them to honk, deliver gifts, and sing “Happy Birthday.” Make it a surprise for your child to add to the fun.
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Create a Socially Remote Game Plan
To host a safe party, it’s critical to establish a few social distancing guidelines before sending out event invitations. Giving your guests all of the information upfront on the invitation will help them anticipate what to expect and will make the gathering less stressful for everyone.
Before the Party
Instruct guests to return home if they are ill. While you’d like to have everyone RSVP “yes,” avoid pressuring guests who are ill or have been exposed to COVID-19 within the last 14 days to attend. If any of your guests exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, it is prudent for them to stay at home.
Whenever possible, host your event outside. If you have access to an outdoor space—a park, a beach, your backyard, or your partner’s rooftop—host there.
Put on face masks. Even if you can maintain a safe six-foot distance, face masks can make guests feel more at ease socializing. Inviting guests to bring their masks or providing them is a good idea. Masks are particularly beneficial when the weather changes and forces you indoors.
The seating should be six feet apart. Members of the same household may sit together but must maintain a six-foot separation from everyone else. Whether you’re setting up tables in the yard, picnic blankets in the park, or lawn chairs in the driveway, space out seating in advance to make it easier for everyone to adhere to the rules as they arrive.
Leave the welcome hug at the door. Give a friendly wave. While your natural reaction may be to hug your friend or loved one after such a long time apart, resist the urge! Rather than shaking hands or bumping elbows, avoid close contact by greeting others with a wave of verbal greeting.
Inform them of the location of a hand washing station. On arrival, direct guests to a designated hand washing area, whether it’s a nearby bathroom or an outdoor station. If soap and water are not readily available at your venue, provide hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Instruct guests to wash their hands upon arrival and again before serving or eating food. Replace hand towels with single-use paper towels to eliminate the need for guests to share.
One person should be designated to serve the food. The most effective way to keep the number of people serving food to a minimum is to designate someone to serve the group. This eliminates the need for multiple people to pass the serving utensils. Provide single-use options for sharable items such as condiments, spices, and dressings. If this proves to be too much, simply request that guests bring their food and beverages.
Keep contact with frequently touched surfaces to a minimum. Remove the lids from trash cans to avoid any contact. If possible, wipe down tables, surfaces, and shared items between uses.
Virtual Substitutes for Social Distancing in the New Normal
If you have an immunocompromised friend, are looking for safe activities for senior living residents, or if a member of your group simply does not feel comfortable hanging out outside yet, virtual parties are always an option! Cheers to the weekend, a promotion, or just because with our suggestions for a virtual happy hour or a virtual game night.
With a little imagination, family and friend gatherings are still possible. Simply maintain these social distancing behaviors throughout this new normal to avoid becoming infected with the coronavirus.
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