When was your last dinner party? For me (at least until recently) it was New Years Eve – over nine months ago. COVID-19 intervened. Many dinner parties have been canceled, but not all. You may have read about the parties going on in the Hamptons this summer. These soirees involve an employed concierge doctor who tests prior to entry and a large number of attendees. What I am suggesting is something more intimate and an event that everyone can enjoy without putting a swab up their nose. But if there is a way to house your friends (a limited number for dinner) why bother getting everyone to safety? I say yes. Here’s how to host a socially distant dinner party.
How to host a socially distant dinner party
Put it out
Space and the ability to social distance are factors. I think it would be difficult to get along with more than eight people in total. Make sure these are people you know. Know how to protect yourself. Don’t be ashamed to ask questions.
Discuss the event with each of your attendees to ensure they are happy with the event and your procedures. Make sure you explain that masks are required except when eating or socially aloof. Explain how to prepare the food (with gloves?) Or how to make sure you don’t contaminate the dishes or the serving area. Some feel more comfortable eating from a restaurant that is packaged separately for each guest. It’s up to you as the host, but don’t be offended by guests making requests. We all need to be comfortable with our decisions.
Take it outside
Realize that it is best to have the event outside. This may be difficult given the mid-season heat, but start the event later – after the sun has set. Do you have lights or candles. And tell everyone to wear shorts or other casual clothes. Just explain that this makes everyone safer.
Separate everything you can
Set up separate dining tables for each couple (or anyone already in the family bubble) that are at least 6 feet apart. For every couple or cocktail, choose a great wine – one to enjoy at their own staging table. Use plastic, disposable glasses, and plates.
Set up another separate table for other drinks – cocktails, blenders, etc. in case your guests want something different. But only have one couple or a group at the table at a time. And let her be her own mixologist.
If you do not take it out separately, set up a serving table for a buffet. Have each pair come to the table separately and fill the plates. You should wear masks and help yourself. You shouldn’t serve them.
Take that away
Let the drinks and conversation flow. But do it remotely. You can have great ambience and interaction without putting any of your friends at risk. Even if cases do occur in your area, everyone’s immune system is different and every COVID case is unique. You don’t want to risk it.
Have plenty of wipes and disinfectant handy for everyone. And have a designated bathroom with accessories to clean as guests deem necessary.
Some may think this is too much – or maybe not enough. But I believe this provides a way to keep everyone connected without interrupting each other on that tedious zoom call that always seems to end within an hour. Please stay safe, but stay connected with those who matter to you.
Did you notice a shift in your partnership during the pandemic? Here’s how to strengthen your relationship during COVID-19.
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