5 things to consider before planning a family celebration

Eager to get together with family and friends? Here are 5 tips to help keep everyone safer.

During the past few months, countless birthday, graduation and anniversary celebrations have been postponed due to COVID-19. Many family get-togethers and parties with friends had to be cancelled. If you’re like many Americans, you’re eager to start enjoying time spent with family and friends again.

Although there may still be restrictions on the number of people that can be together in one place, you can plan a gathering if you keep these things in mind so everyone stays as safe as possible.

COVID-19 Cases in Your Area

Have coronavirus cases declined near you or is your town now a hot spot? The situation in your area can help you decide if it’s a good idea to host a gathering. Although your guests may seem perfectly healthy, they could spread the virus even though they aren’t showing any symptoms. It is estimated that 25% to 45% of infected people don’t display any symptoms of the virus, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Good Morning America in June.

The Risk Level of Your Guests

High-risk members of your family may be more likely to become very sick if they get COVID-19. If any of your guests are over age 65, are obese or have chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, respiratory ailments, kidney disease, diabetes or sickle cell disease, attending a gathering could put their health at risk. Until a vaccine or effective treatment is developed, it may be best to reschedule the celebration or invite at-risk guests to join you via Skype, Zoom or FaceTime.

The Size of Your Gathering

The more people who attend your party, the greater the risk that someone will develop COVID-19. If you plan a casual get-together with a limited number of family members (<10), you’re much more likely to remain healthy than if you throw a party for 40 people or more. Be sure to check state and local regulations for information about the number of people currently permitted to attend indoor or outdoor gatherings where you live.

Where You’ll Hold Your Party

The COVID-19 virus spreads more easily indoors. The odds that an infected person will transmit the virus in a closed room is 18.7 times higher than in an open-air area, according to Japanese scientists. Hosting your gathering outdoors is a simple way to lower the risk.

How You’ll Protect Your Guests

Have you created a coronavirus safety plan for your celebration? A comprehensive plan can lower the risk of a party-related outbreak. Your plan might include:

  • Asking guests to stay home if they have possible symptoms of coronavirus or have been around anyone who has COVID-19. Some virus outbreaks have been linked to teens and adults who have attended large parties or spent an evening at a crowded bar.
  • Spacing seating at least six feet apart to reduce the possibility of disease transmission.
  • Recommending that guests wear masks if they must be closer than six feet apart.
  • Cleaning bathrooms, dining areas, door knobs, railings and other high-touch areas frequently.
  • Appointing one person to serve guests rather than offering food buffet style.
  • Replacing cloth towels with paper towels in the bathrooms and making hand sanitizer readily available.

Although the nature of gatherings may have changed temporarily, maintaining close relationships with family and friends remains as important as ever. Fortunately, you can still celebrate special events and get together with friends and family, as long as you take a few important safety measures.

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