Social Distancing Events: Celebrate and Stay Safe

If there’s one phrase we'd like to eliminate from our vocabulary, it's the "new normal." The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced countless changes to our lives, from surges to lockdowns to social distancing guidelines. But let's...

Social distancing events

If there’s one phrase we'd like to eliminate from our vocabulary, it's the "new normal." The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced countless changes to our lives, from surges to lockdowns to social distancing guidelines. But let's be clear, there's nothing normal about living through a global health crisis.

Despite the abnormality, we persevere and find new ways to celebrate important life events while adhering to social distancing requirements. Hosting a social distancing event is not just about having fun. It's about spreading joy, spending quality time with loved ones and the community, and uplifting spirits during these challenging times.

In this guide, we will provide you with tips on planning safe and socially distanced events. We have also ranked three different types of events from the safest to safe, ensuring you and your guests can enjoy the celebration while prioritizing health and safety.

How To Host Safe Social Distancing Events

Social distancing events: People queuing up keeping social distance

The safest approach to hosting a socially distanced event is to go virtual. However, if you prefer an in-person gathering, there are measures you can take to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Basic Safety Measures

Follow the guidelines provided by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) for social distancing. Encourage all attendees to wear masks and consider providing disposable face masks and hand sanitizers for those who may arrive unprepared.

Physical Distancing Measures

To promote physical distancing, mark spots six feet apart to help guests maintain a safe distance. Opt for activities that allow for social distancing, such as yard games, rather than close-contact activities like dancing. Design the event space in a way that discourages crowding, and consider reserving more outdoor space than usual for the same number of guests.

For events that include a bar, set up multiple smaller bars instead of one central bar. If seating is available, opt for smaller tables that only accommodate a few guests. Avoid placing food, drink stations, or activities near the entrance to prevent overcrowding.

Additional Safety Measures for Corporate and Community Events

For corporate or community events, consider implementing event ticketing to manage and control the number of attendees. Ticketing also allows for staggered start times, ensuring a smaller crowd throughout the day. If you are concerned about a large gathering, consider making the event invitation-only or hosting a last-minute popup event. Popup events are especially effective for engaging local communities and can be announced 24 hours in advance to limit the number of attendees.

Remember, no matter how many safety measures are in place, high-risk individuals should not attend in-person events. Consider live streaming the event so that everyone can still feel included.

3 Ways To Host Social Distancing Events

Social distancing events: Girlfriends clinking wine glasses outdoors

There are three approaches to maintaining social distancing while hosting an event: go outdoors, limit the number of people, or opt for a virtual gathering. Although physical proximity may be limited, each option offers ample opportunities for enjoyment. Let's explore each type of event and discover exciting activities to make your celebration feel just as thrilling as pre-pandemic gatherings.

Safe: Take Your Event Outside

If you choose to host your event onsite, outdoor spaces are safer than indoor venues. Studies have shown that outdoor events carry a lower risk of COVID-19 transmission, especially when ample space is provided for guests to spread out. To encourage social distancing, plan outdoor activities that naturally facilitate distance. Here are some outdoor event ideas that strike a perfect balance between fun and safety:

  • Set up a fire pit: Embrace the cold weather by arranging a cozy fire pit. It's an excellent opportunity for fireside activities such as roasting hotdogs, making s'mores, and sharing spooky stories.
  • Organize yard games: Engage your guests with hula hoop contests, cornhole matches, or croquet competitions. Ensure each guest has their own set of equipment or provide sanitizing wipes to clean shared items between rounds.
  • Host a drive-in movie night: Invite your colleagues or organize a fundraising event by selling movie tickets. Drive-in movies allow guests to stay within their COVID bubble while enjoying a night of family entertainment.
  • Plan a trunk sale: Perfect for fundraising, this event takes place in a parking lot where participants sell items from the trunk of their cars. It's an excellent opportunity for churches, schools, and nonprofit organizations to engage the community.
  • Host a sporting event: Outdoor sports such as golf, disc golf, tennis, pickleball, and frisbee offer ample space for social distancing. Organize a friendly game or a fundraising tournament.

Outdoor events are the safest option for hosting larger groups during the pandemic, but smaller events are even safer.

Safer: Limit the Number of People at Your Event

People eating and drinking red wine while wearing protective masks

To avoid turning your event into a potential super spreader, consider not only keeping it outdoors but also limiting the number of guests. The CDC recommends gathering in small groups of 10 people or fewer. Additionally, take into account the number of COVID bubbles merging at your event. If you share a home with your family and invite another family over, that's two separate COVID bubbles. For added safety, assign separate tables or seating areas for each group to ensure six feet of physical distance between bubbles.

With a smaller group, you can create an intimate atmosphere without compromising safety. Here are some ideas to make your small gathering memorable:

  • Host a garden party: Set up a delightful tea party or casual lawn chairs gathering in your garden or backyard.
  • Have a BBQ: Everyone loves a backyard BBQ! Grill up some delicious treats and set up communal tables or separate seating areas for individual COVID bubbles.
  • Throw a vintage game night: Engage in some healthy competition with classic board games like Battleship, Guess Who, Clue, Monopoly, or Life. Make sure each player handles their own game pieces for added safety.

An outdoor event with a small group and proper social distancing measures is a relatively safe option. However, for those who are high-risk or highly concerned, the safest way to celebrate in the age of COVID-19 is through virtual events.

Safest: Host a Virtual Event

Two women having a virtual gathering

In the midst of the pandemic, many live events have transitioned to the online realm, including concerts, conferences, and even weddings. Hosting a virtual event comes with the added advantage of flexibility. You won't have to cancel if your area imposes new lockdown measures. Here are a few unexpected activities to include in your virtual event:

  • Throw a pajama party: Encourage your guests to wear their favorite PJs and participate in classic sleepover activities like makeovers, truth or dare, and storytelling.
  • Host a living room dance competition: Create a playlist of favorite songs and challenge guests to showcase their dance moves in front of their webcams. Have judges select the best dancer for each round, or eliminate participants who keep dancing after the music stops.
  • Take an online class: Explore virtual cooking lessons, paint-n-sips, or any other exciting class. Gather friends, family, or colleagues for an educational and entertaining experience.
  • Have a trivia night: Test everyone's knowledge with a virtual trivia game. Simply provide questions or use trivia card sets like Trivial Pursuit. Participants can write down their answers, and the person with the most correct responses wins.

While virtual events may have become more commonplace, with a touch of creativity, they can remain engaging and enjoyable for all attendees.

Stay Safe, Stay Social

Socializing is essential for our mental well-being, but we must prioritize our physical health during these challenging times. By taking events outdoors, limiting the number of attendees, and practicing social distancing measures, you can celebrate important milestones safely. For an even safer option that allows individuals at higher risk to participate, consider hosting virtual events.

Regardless of whether your event is in-person or online, digital invitations can add a touch of formality and make your guests feel special. Explore a wide range of invitations tailored for virtual events, garden parties, BBQs, and more. Send them off to the people you want to celebrate with, all while ensuring their safety.

Remember, we may be in extraordinary times, but with creativity, determination, and care, we can still find ways to celebrate and stay connected.

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