CLEVELAND — Every year Americans look forward to the festivities and fun that come with the Fourth of July weekend. While safe and responsible celebrations have typically revolved around managing fireworks and sparklers, this year the bigger concern is whether those anticipated gatherings with friends and family are safe amid a global pandemic.
Centers for Disease Control Prevention has recommendations in place for those hosting outdoor gatherings or cookouts this summer, particularly during the Fourth of July weekend:
- Host your gathering outdoors, when possible. If this is not feasible, make sure the room or space is well-ventilated (for example, open a window).
- Arrange tables and chairs to allow for social distancing. People from the same household can be in groups together and don’t need to be 6 feet apart – just 6 feet away from other families.
- If planning activities for adults and/or kids, consider those where social distancing can be maintained, like sidewalk chalk art or frisbee.
- When guests arrive, minimize gestures that promote close contact. For example, don’t shake hands, do elbow bumps, or give hugs. Instead wave and verbally greet them.
- All hosts should ask their family and friends to wear a mask upon their arrival. Families should sit together and at least 6 feet apart from another household.
Hand sanitizer or a hand washing station is recommended. Guests should wash their hands when entering and exiting social gatherings.
The CDC recommends hosts keep a guestbook with all the names of everyone who attended for potential contact tracing needs.
Limit the number of people handling or serving food
- Encourage guests to bring their own food and drinks.
- Limit people going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen or around the grill, if possible.
- If serving any food, consider identifying one person to serve all food so that multiple people are not handling the serving utensils.
- Use single-use options or identify one person to serve sharable items, like salad dressings, food containers, and condiments, so that multiple people are not handling the items.