Planning Your Gatherings at Home With Every Detail to Prevent Covid Spread
October 27, 2021Cassandra Rosas
Adapting our way of living to the new normality after Covid-19 has been hectic for everyone, and learning to make things different has been a necessity since we all want to keep living our lives and having close contact with our beloved friends and family, we all need to start considering all the safety precautions required to prevent ourselves and our family members to get the virus.
So we asked the experts for their advice to plan our events and gatherings at home with all the details to prevent the spread of the virus and still be able to enjoy a wonderful gathering, especially now that important holidays are coming, we should all take the precautions and safety measures to enjoy healthy encounters, keep reading to discover the amazing ideas, tips, and advice they gave us.
Q: What is the best advice you can give us for safely hosting an event at home in covid times?
A: Make your guests feel as safe and comfortable as possible while entertaining at home during Covid-19. This can involve something as simple as asking everyone to sanitize their hands upon arrival, or as complex as having to do it yourself at home rapid tests for each guest prior to entering the residence. Remember to be gracious, understanding, and flexible as each of your guests and you will have a different comfort level surrounding attending a gathering during these times. Be safe, keep things clean, well ventilated, and enjoyable during your holiday entertaining season.
Chef Sean Andrade, Certified Master Chef at AWG Private Chefs
Q: What are the best ideas you can give us for planning covid safe holiday parties?
A: Our best tip is to make sure that no matter what you do, ensure interactivity. If you’re planning a COVID-friendly backyard party, plan activities that will get your guests mingling without breathing on each other, like team trivia or ring toss. If you’re planning a virtual event, make sure your group is playing games that get them in different breakout rooms and with hands-on activities, like making paper snowflake crafts or competing against each other to solve holiday jingle challenges.
By Akila from Unexpected Atlanta
Q: How do you adapt a social gathering considering covid 19 preventive measures?
A: For our events, we equipe our event spaces with special UV lamps that can disinfect the entire area even with guests present and food. It has been commonly used in hospitals for many years and now or production companies area all equipped
We invite all our guests to use vowdigitalhealth.com so that they can register their full-cycle of vaccination and add an antigen test so that all the guests feel very comfortable once they enter the reception they know they can be carefree, just in case we also have a few nurses performing antigen tests before entering in case they did not register with vow digitalhealth app.
We make sure that the catering has separate food passing around that allows for safe practices and we prefer plated dinners as opposed to buffets for the time being.
By Alejandra Poupel from Alejandra Poupel Events
Q: What are the best tips you can give us for hosting a social gathering at home being Covid conscious?
A: As we move to the next steps of living with social distancing and covid-conscious living a lot of us are starting to invite people over again– because we miss our friends and we miss (let’s face it) talking to someone other than those in our family…hahaha….and that’s OK if you follow the new rules for entertaining safely.
Entertaining with a gathering of family and friends is so good for our mental health. After being cooped up during the stay at home period of the pandemic we have all gained new appreciation of talking and listening to each other. It’s also nice to have a reason to dress up in something other than yoga pants!
Rethink your serving utensils: Charcuterie boards are all the rage. But, if you’re going to do a big glorious cheese and meat board make sure to serve it with tongs and toothpicks to avoid folks touching the foods.
No more big bowls of communal chips and dips and big platters of nachos that everyone digs in with their hands!
Covid-Conscious Creativity: Arrange individual small plates of cheese, charcuterie, and crackers on each with grapes in small clusters or strawberries –whatever you have on hand.
Use individual clear glasses with hummus or blue cheese dip in the bottom of the glass and crudité vegetable slices on the top, so each person gets their own to freely double dip!!!
Designated Server: If you’re having a holiday buffet, why not assign a ‘designated server’, someone who has obviously washed their hands and is wearing clean gloves and serves each person at the party. This is better than everyone using the same serving spoon, which can potentially become a vehicle for germs when everyone is touching the handle of the serving utensil.
It’s OK to have foods out in family style bowls, but each person would have their own utensil for serving themselves.
Think Single! Not just for school lunch anymore, those small snack packs of chips, cookies, nuts, cheese are perfect for entertaining safely now. You can create your pretty individual packages of snack items too in a holiday themed paper cup.
Why not serve tiny brownies or cupcakes so everyone gets their own dessert instead of sharing a big cake.
To-Go Containers Cut Food Waste. Allow your guests to bag up what they didn’t eat from their cheese/charcuterie platter or other dishes/desserts.
You can’t keep the leftovers they’ve touched so reduce food waste by offering disposable plastic containers or bags so they can enjoy for lunch tomorrow or snack later..
Happy and Healthy Holidays Ahead!
By Carolyn O’Neil MS, RDN from TheHappyHealthyKitchen.com
Q:What is the best way to serve food in an event with covid 19 preventive measures?
A: Covid has created instability in the Hospitality industry affecting restaurants, bars, caterers and hoteliers. As we’ve all shifted operations to include additional safety measures we’ve found this works best for us as we cater weddings, special events and corporate lunches.
Doorstep Diner Catering offers a contactless buffet. Staff is masked and gloved and we set up a sanitizing station at the head of our buffet line. We hold the plates back with us and as we serve down our buffet line we pass the plates on the back of the line from staff member to staff member. Guests simply follow along the front of the line and do not touch serving utensils or their plates until the very end where we hand them their plate. This offers a greater element of service to our guests and we have found the elderly, mobility challenged, and parents of small children really appreciate not having to juggle plates. By using a contactless buffet we are minimizing the number of hands that touch a plate. In addition we keep the line moving faster eliminating guests from standing in close proximity to one another or our staff. This has resonated well with our guests who feel that they are safer with the practices we’ve put in place. For our corporate clients we do offer individual packaged meals for convenience and the elimination of many hands touching serving utensils. These changes have allowed us to continue serving our guests during Covid so that they may celebrate milestones and achievements without sacrificing safety and health.
Laurie Fraser from Doorstep Diner Catering
Q: What are the best and safest ways to offer snacks at social gatherings in covid times?
A: As Covid-19 restrictions lessen in some areas, people are making preparations to gather again and be in the company of others, whether it is for work or pleasure. Often with these gatherings, snacks and refreshments and the question of what to offer and how to offer it arise.
While the CDC notes that there is no evidence of food, food containers, or food packaging being associated with transmission of Covid-19, it is possible that the virus that causes Covid-19 can live on surfaces or objects. To ensure that your snack table remains sanitary and to provide peace of mind for your guests, some precautions can be made.
The easiest way to assure your guests that the snack table is hygienic and not open to contamination is to offer food and beverages in single serve, prepackaged portions and any serviceware in single use, disposable, and/or pre wrapped options, for example, disposable plates and pre wrapped utensils and straws. For lunchtime events, bagged or boxed breakfasts and lunches make it easy for the host and guests to be sure in the knowledge that there is minimal handling of the food. You needn’t feel limited to only continental breakfasts or a sandwich lunch. Many catering companies have expanded their repertoire and are offering individually packaged hot options to satisfy their clients’ needs. And in a business setting, grab and go options are always a good idea for the busy on the go individual.
Another alternative is to utilize a staffed buffet. Having gloved servers for the buffet minimizes the number of people handling the serving utensils and buffet items and keeps the possibility of contamination low.
And of course, it almost goes without saying and is a best practice even if Covid-19 wasn’t prevalent, it’s always a good idea to remind guest to wash their hands or offer hand sanitizer or sanitizing hand wipes to guests before they enter the buffet.
By Donna M. Levy from Catering Works
Q: What are the best ways to serve drinks at parties to prevent covid 19 spread?
A: As 2021 nears an end we’re seeing a return to in-person holiday gatherings. Whether you’re hosting something small and intimate or a larger celebration it’s important to make the safety of your guests part of your plans. The first stop at any party for most guests is the bar, so here are a few ideas to keep the beverages festive, fun, and safe:
At Catering by Seasons, we love individual, pre-poured cocktails in these drink pouches complete with straw. Mix, pour, garnish and refrigerate before your guests arrive – your guests will appreciate the care you’ve taken and you’ll appreciate the time you get to spend with family and friends instead of playing bartender. The pouches are available in a variety of sizes from Amazon.
Think outside the bottle! Many companies are offering canned versions of traditional mixed drinks. You can get margaritas, gin and tonics, negronis, mimosas, mai tais and more in individual serving cans. So, grab a beverage tub, add ice and throw in cans of your favorite cocktail – no bartender needed!
Make it personal …. It’s ok to ask guests to BYOB, but have personalized glassware for them when they arrive. Using washable glass paint and wine charms you can create fun glasses your guests will use all night long.
By Glynis Keith from Catering by Seasons
Q: What is your best suggestion to serve drinks and identify glasses at parties to avoid covid spread during the event?
A: We have the perfect solution for identifying your drinks during a party.
This has been one of my favorite party favors I always suggest our brides do, regardless of Covid. A blue ribbon with the bride’s name and groom and intertwined a color bead that should be different for everyone, as there are more guests than different colors, I suggest adding different kinds of beads at the same time that they are different colors. Guests will tie the ribbon to their wine glasses.
If they are offering other drinks that need regular glasses, I suggest a small sticky tag, where guests can write or draw their own clue.
Patricia Nevil from L’ezu
Q:What are the best party favors to provide at your events in covid times?
A: You can make your event memorable by giving out party favors that fit seamlessly into our COVID-centric lives.
I recommend party favors that have immediate utility at the event. These party favors should help guests feel safer and impart a sense of celebration at the same time:
- Custom branded masks
- Ear saver mask clips for those who find wearing masks for a long time painful
- Social Bands that state your contact preferences like “keep 6-feet distance” or “handshakes okay.”
- Personal metal or bamboo drinking straws
Next, gimmicky party favors are fantastic at home as we adjust to remote work and more time on the couch.
- Mobile phone and tablet stands
- Webcam covers for those of us who keep forgetting to turn video-sharing off
- Mobile phone finger loops – great for scrolling while lounging on the couch
- Phone tripods for teen guests who post Reels and TikToks
Then there are the take-home lifestyle party favors that keep your guests thinking of you.
- Succulents and other hardy plants make a lovely parting gift at an event
- Shared recipe cards like a family eggnog recipe to connect with people as they explore home-based hobbies
Lastly, some events just need edible party favors without resorting to Jordan Almonds. Just remember, because of COVID, keep all edible favors sealed.
- Tins of flavored popcorn – perfect for post-event Netflix binges – and they can be custom branded
- Personalized M&Ms to match the theme of your event
By Dean Levitt from Thymebase
Q: What is the best way to set up a candy buffet at a social gathering at home to avoid Covid spread?
A: I think there are a few things people can do:
- Ultimately the best thing would be to have someone act as an attendant. You would have a person or two wearing gloves and using scoops to serve the candy to the participants. They would be the only ones touching anything. It would probably be best if they were friends of relatives that most of the guests know (and trust).
- If that’s not possible, give each guest their own little candy scoop so they can candy without direct contact.
- Another good idea would be to use only wrapped candy (if doing self-serve)
By Ken Shenkman from Bulk Candy Store
Q: Which health behaviors should be promoted amongst guests to prevent virus spread during an event?
A: With the proper precautions and logistics, organizers can create a fun, engaging, and safe event from the comfort of their own homes. Safety-wise, there are tons of precautions to think through. Here at GoCo, we had to think through all of the CDC guidelines and protocols, which we later compiled into a document that our attendees would be asked to sign and acknowledge. Here are some of the measures we took to comply with CDC recommendations:
- Enforcing and respecting social distancing measures from others while indoors
- Requiring a face covering unless actively eating or drinking
- Requiring or encouraging proof-of-vaccination upon entry
In addition to the “standard” rules and recommendations provided by the CDC, it’s important to prioritize the comfort levels of your attendees! Not every home gathering or in-person event is created equal, nor is every attendee. Introducing a color-coded wristband system where attendees can select green, yellow, or red to indicate their comfort levels in terms of distancing and/or masking is a great way to prevent virus spread. This gives your in-person party-goers more confidence and clarity around how to respect and interact with each other.
We also recommend setting up hand sanitizing stations and sanitary wipe stations for constant cleaning at your home gathering. You could even take it a step further and hire a professional cleaning service for your home-gathering to clean as you go (or after!).
Finally, we highly recommend limiting party attendance at your home holiday gathering. Check local guidance for maximum gathering sizes, and craft your guest list around this. If you have more guests in mind than the recommendations accommodate, consider skipping the in-person home gathering, or breaking it up into smaller events.
By Aimie Ye form Go Co
Q: Which measures should be taken to maintain a healthy environment throughout a whole social gathering?
A: First and foremost, be straightforward with expectations. Communicate with guests clearly when extending an invitation that this will be a fully vaccinated affaire. Most guests will appreciate knowing you’re taking their health and safety seriously and will be more comfortable attending.
Keep it intimate! Micro gatherings are a wonderful opportunity to splurge and spoil your guests. It also allows you to get creative with layout for your space to ensure safe distancing without making anyone feel it was intentional. Mix your décor and provide lounge areas for smaller groups amidst table seating setups. It’s a great way to elevate your space aesthetic while maximizing socializing in a safe way. Better yet! If you’re able to host your fabulous get-together outdoors, consider a tented affaire! There’s a myriad of stunning tent options that often add a magical touch to your guest experience. And being outdoors means good air flow, minimizing poor ventilation risks.
Host a Mask-querade! An old theme favourite that’s the perfect way to get around hosting an event that allows for mingling and moving about. Otherwise, consider a more formal sit-down dinner where you can control how individually plated meals are served to limit cross-contamination and touch-points. If you do opt for a seated affaire, then may we suggest a show! Our city is bursting with incredibly talented musicians, dancers or even illusionists like Kevin Hamdan who will keep your guests entertained safely while in their seats, in the most spectacular ways
By Andriana Avraam from Pink Media
Q: Which sanitization measures should be taken before, during, and after an event at home?
A: Sanitization is necessary to minimize the risk of germs and bacteria spreading. Here are some tips that you can do before, during, and after an event:
Before an event: Sanitize surfaces so that there are no dirty surfaces for guests to come in contact with. This includes washing your sheets and bedding, vacuuming all upholstery and carpets, and using a surface cleaner on any hard surfaces.
During an event: You should pre-wash any dishes that were used before they go in the dishwasher, disinfect any hard-surfaces that were touched during the event with a bleach solution of 1:30 (1 part bleach and 30 parts water), and clean up all spills. Alternatively, you may consider using disposable dishes and utensils so that there is less of a chance of cross contamination and spreading any germs.
After an event: You should clean thoroughly and disinfect anything that may have come in contact with guests. Consider washing all dishes and utensils that were not used to with soap and hot water, wiping down floors with hot water and vinegar, vacuuming carpets and/or rugs, clean up any remaining residue like spilled food or drink with a mix of soap and hot water or an appropriate cleaning solution, and high contact areas like counters and tables before you start to use your home again.
By Luciano Motta from Brilho Luxury Home Services Inc.
As you can see, there are a few things that should be considered when planning a social event at home to make sure everyone stays safe and healthy, follow all the great tips the experts gave us and you’ll be able to enjoy fantastic celebrations at home and stay protected from virus spread.