The pandemic has changed the way we live, work, and spend time with the people we care about. In fact, we likely won’t do certain activities the same way again. One of these activities is the backyard barbecue, which for many, is an essential part of summer. Despite vaccinations rolling out and lockdown measures easing up, it’s still important that we continue to protect ourselves and our health in these uncertain times.
Being fully vaccinated gives you more protection against COVID-19, allowing you to become more flexible and do the things you used to do pre-pandemic. On the other hand, if you’re not vaccinated yet, it’s important to be wary when attending social gatherings, despite outdoor gatherings being safer compared to indoor ones.
Whether you’ve hosted or participated in outdoor barbecues in the past, it’s still important to stay cautious when in large groups and take the necessary measures to keep yourself and others safe. With that, here’s what you can do to make your backyard barbecue a safe event without risking your or anyone else’s health.
Be Aware of the Risk
Since most barbecue parties take place outdoors, it’s a low-risk event, especially for fully vaccinated people. However, those with immunodeficiency disorders should stay cautious and continue to follow the necessary health and safety precautions.
If you’re hosting your own backyard barbecue and are inviting both vaccinated and unvaccinated guests, it’s important to let everyone know beforehand. This way, all your guests are aware of any risk that could affect them. It’s also important that you take special care to protect your unvaccinated attendees, as they are more likely to contract the virus and experience more severe symptoms.
Plan it Out
You don’t want to host an event or party unprepared, which is why it’s important to plan everything before you even start sending invites to your guests. This involves ensuring your grill is in top shape, arranging chairs and tables, figuring out what health and safety measures to implement and what food you want to serve.
Cleaning out your grill and keeping it maintained is good not only for your grill’s lifespan but also for your health. This is because not cleaning your grill after use can result in burnt and charred pieces of food that contain the toxic known as acrylamide, which is also a known carcinogen. While low levels of acrylamide won’t affect your health, it’s still best to steer away from it whenever you can.
It also helps check on your grill’s parts to make sure they’re all in working condition. If you see anything that seems off, consider replacing them with parts of the same brand. For instance, if you have a Lynx grill, you’ll want to replace any broken parts with parts meant for Lynx grills.
While setting tables and chairs, make sure they’re at least 6 feet apart from each other and, if possible, have guests from the same household sit together. Also, if you plan to have unvaccinated guests at your barbecue party, give them plenty of space to spread out comfortably.
Whether your guests are vaccinated, it’s important to allow your guests easy access to their seats without having to constantly pass by each other and provide a safe way for them to get their food and drinks. Wherever possible, also try to have disinfectant wipes or hand sanitizer within arms reach of your guests.
When it comes to the food you’ll serve, it’s important to think about not just the barbecue but also the side dishes. You’ll want to avoid shared food like chips, dips, and other finger food that can increase the chances of contact between people. If possible, consider individually wrapping each meal and serving them as a set or spacing apart the food in a way that allows each guest to only handle their own food.
Keep the Gathering Intimate
While it may be tempting to invite all your friends and family to your backyard barbecue party, a big crowd can also pose a big risk, even if it takes place outdoors. Vaccinated or unvaccinated, smaller gatherings in bigger spaces are the best way to go.
Avoid Sharing Food
While the barbecue will be the star of the show at your party, it’s important to remind your guests not to share food whenever possible. When you’re about to serve the BBQ, consider having a single person from each group or family get the food and serve it to their respective tables.
The pandemic doesn’t have to stand in the way of our social gatherings. As long as you take the necessary safety precautions, your summer barbecue party is still going to be one for the books.