With new guidelines coming into play on June 1 meaning that groups of six people can meet in gardens or parks, how can you safely host a social distanced gathering?
There are many practical factors to consider if you are planning to get people together from different households and here we try to tackle a few of these areas so that you can enjoy the beautiful weather and get together with long-missed loved ones:
To be safe, each person from each household needs to be able to maintain an area of two metres, which means if there are six people altogether, each from a different household, then you will need a space the size of a quarter of a tennis court in order to maintain safe distancing.
An easy way to help show each person’s ‘safe area’ is to lay down 2mx2m picnic blankets, like this one from Amazon.
Who to invite is the next big consideration, especially if you have young children, as they will naturally want to get close to those they haven’t seen for a while, like grandparents.
Garden games like badminton, or croquet where you can safely distance everyone might be a good option for keeping younger ones entertained, but you’ll still be able to enjoy time with those from other households. Argos has a great selection of garden games to choose from.
Eating and Drinking
Part of the fun of getting together is in the sharing of food and drink. However, enjoying your best-friend’s home-made coleslaw while dipping your crisps and sharing a bottle of fizz isn’t quite as simple as it used to be.
There’s a couple of ways you could tackle the organising of sharing food:
- Put nibbles, cutlery, plates and glasses in each person’s area before they arrive; this reduces the need for people to get up and wander around looking for what they need. It also means people can keep their hands to themselves when it comes to picking at crisps and dips. Better still, ask people to bring their own nibbles and drinks, which they can keep in their own area or ‘bubble’. Investing in environmentally friendly disposable cutlery can make things even easier – take a look at these from Ocean Saver.
- Queuing systems – as daft as it sounds, setting up a queuing system if you are planning a barbeque set-up in your garden is the way to go. Make sure people are aware of your plans ahead of visiting; that way you can avoid the awkwardness of marshalling people, and everyone will know what to expect and how you are managing keeping things safe. Simply ask people to come up to get their food one at a time and not to touch with their hands but to use their cutlery. This should make things a lot easier and you can also put out PPE, such as gloves and antibacterial hand sanitiser.
There is nothing quite like a cold beer in the sunshine, especially if you can drink it whilst catching up with friends and family.
From a practical perspective, a cool box is always handy when it comes to outdoor eating and drinking – and this one from Wayfair is stylish as well as practical. It also means you can keep your beverages close to hand and not rely on having to ask anyone to keep things in their fridge.
The other thing to think about when organising an alcohol-fuelled gathering is how people can become less inhibited after a glass or two, which comes back to who best to invite and how to manage your space to keep people safe.
Investing in some outdoor seating for people (from as little as £8, like this chair from Millets) or asking them to bring some chairs with them can save anyone feeling the need to get up and move about from the floor. It also provides a comfy place to enjoy that much anticipated tipple.
There’s no avoiding it…if you’re going to be hosting people in your garden for food and drink, at some point someone it going to need the loo.
The best thing to do is to provide as much antibacterial protection as you can and ask people to be extremely vigilant and considerate when using your facilities. So, disposable towels to dry their hands, hand soap and hand sanitiser and maybe even a little sign to ask them to ‘flush with the lid down’. It may seem a monumental effort but keeping everyone safe has to remain a priority. Of course, it’s always safer to plan shorter gatherings and people can use their own bathroom.
Hopefully this information will help you plan and enjoy your social gathering; there’s no denying that, as humans, we need and thrive on social interaction but with the threat of COVID-19 still with us, we have to remain responsible and ensure the safety of those we love and want to see.
Enjoy the sunshine!