Now that the weather is heating up and mask and quarantine restrictions are loosening, throwing an outdoor get-together has never been easier to plan. People are more open to meeting in person, especially when you plan a party that has safety precautions in place. So grab your summer comfy clothes and your barbecue mitts—it’s time to celebrate the first day of summer! Here are some top tips for hosts to throw an incredibly fun and socially distanced BBQ.
Guests should be able to space out easily, so set up your party with modular furniture and spaced seating areas. This can be easily accomplished by getting small portable tables like foldable card tables and chairs that you can put together or turn into smaller seating areas around your lawn. Also, bar-height tables are easy places for people to stop and chat with a drink for a little bit but not stick around for too long. These make a perfect site for a cocktail hour before the official food is brought out.
At a socially distanced party, it’s polite to offer easy ways to stay healthy by offering hand sanitation stations and free masks for any guests who prefer one. You can also provide cloth kids’ face masks just in case people bring little ones who are not experts at social distancing. This precaution will give guests peace of mind even if little ones get close for a quick hug or to tell an exciting (but perhaps long) story. Keep these hand sanitation stations well distributed around the party so that everyone can access them without getting in the way of the food line or any doorways.
When you want to socialize and keep a safe distance, BBQs make it pretty easy. Traditional BBQ games like corn hole are played more than six feet apart, a perfect socially distanced game. The horseshoe toss is also a long-distance game that passes the time while allowing plenty of space between teams. It’s also easy to set up a socially distanced card game by spacing out seats at an outdoor table. Essentially, if you have a favorite game, there should be a way to make it safer for everyone. Brainstorm with your co-host and guests to find out what they like to do and discover creative ways to make the games work.
During the party, it can be tempting to go indoors to diversify the mood. However, by keeping things outdoors, you can dramatically reduce any risk of virus transmission because being in the open air has been proven to reduce risks significantly. Resist the temptation to go indoors by instead making the outdoors hospitable at any time of day.
Bugs are a big deterrent for staying outside, but if you do proper mitigation processes like fogging your yard in advance, installing a temporary netted gazebo, providing bug spray, or getting regular yard treatments for mosquitoes and ticks, you can have a pleasant outdoor environment for all your guests. When the bugs are kept at bay and there are many shaded spots, your guests will feel more comfortable.
To stay cool, dress in something light like a T-shirt and cotton shorts or one of your best summer dresses. Sporty clothing and moisture-wicking fabrics from activewear and swimsuits are also great clothing for the hot weather. Provide places to recharge in the shade with a covered porch or patio tables with umbrellas, and you will be sure to beat the heat.
In a socially distanced environment, putting used forks, knives, and plates in one place can be a germ problem. This is especially true if you need to go back inside someone’s house and stack your plate and silverware inside a sink. To keep things simple and sanitary, use compostable cups and cutlery. You can easily find biodegradable options online so that you can have eco-friendly options. This allows guests to toss everything into a bag at the end of the party so you don’t have to touch any used forks or cups. This method also makes cleanup a snap and reduces traffic in your home. Place several trash cans around the barbecue to make things convenient for all.
By following these quick tips, you can host a socially distanced first day of summer barbecue about any problems. Have fun planning your big event and look forward to seeing all your favorite people again!