Over the past few months, more than 116 million Americans have received their COVID-19 vaccination. Now, many of them are getting back to life as they knew it before the pandemic. Cocktail parties, brunch dates and other small get-togethers are a real possibility again! If you and your friends have received your vaccines, you’re probably looking to get together, too. This won’t be just any old social hour, though. With over a year’s worth of updates to share, this party will be one for the ages. Here are a few steps you can take to successfully plan a safe, fun and memorable post-COVID get-together. No masks required or social distancing required!
1. Consider Local Regulations
Of course, it’s important to research local regulations and orders before planning your long-awaited get-together, as some states still have restrictions on gatherings. For instance, California has capped indoor gatherings at 25 people, while Massachusetts still has a 10-person limit. These orders often apply to unvaccinated party-goers, but it’s best to follow them regardless. After all, inviting too many people will only make for a more expensive party. Thus, if you’ve agreed to host, these regulations may actually work in your favor.
2. Make a Guest List
Once you figure out how many friends you’re allowed to invite, you can put together a guest list. Typically, you can expect 60% to 75% of the people you invite to show up, so you may want to expand your list if you’re hoping to throw a big celebratory bash. Decide whether or not to invite your girlfriends’ significant others or kids, and include them in the headcount. You might also consider creating a Facebook event or having your guests RSVP so you can keep track of who’s coming. Doing so will also help you prepare enough food, beverages and seating to accommodate everyone.
3. Plan Food and Drinks
A main focal point of any party is the food, and you have a long list of options to choose from. A natural conclusion would be barbecue, but that kind of fare doesn’t appeal to everyone. Sandwiches, wraps and even lobster rolls can serve as a good middle-ground, not too light, and not too heavy.Not interested in seafood? You can never go wrong with Chicken empanadas, Jalapeno poppers, Croquettes, Pretzel bites and Potato skins!
4. Choose Your Venue
Should you have the get-together at your house or a restaurant? Are there enough guests to rent out an event space? Your long-anticipated post-COVID-19 celebration deserves an equally exciting location, so give your venue ample consideration. If your guest list is rather short, your patio or sunroom might be just the place. However, if multiple friends and their families plan on attending, you may want to host the bash in a larger space. Look for nearby event venues and remember to be considerate of staff and obey capacity limits. Otherwise, you may have to send people home — vaccinated or not.
5. Devise a Mask Policy
If everyone attending your post-COVID gathering has received the vaccine at least two weeks ago, it’s safe to hug, high-five, and catch up without wearing a mask or keeping your distance. However, if you extend the invitation to unvaccinated family members, a mask policy may be in order.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend wearing a mask and social distancing when gathering indoors with unvaccinated people from more than one other household. Spending time indoors with unvaccinated guests who live with persons at increased risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms may also warrant the use of masks. Make sure everyone understands your mask policy before giving an RSVP to prevent any mishaps the day of.
6. Consider Going Hybrid
Are some of your friends still hesitant about getting together? If they feel it’s too soon to meet in-person, consider hosting a hybrid event. Invite everyone to your house for the get-together and provide guests with the option to join in on the festivities via Zoom. Outlining your mask and social distancing policies in the invitation will help everyone decide which one to attend. Then, they can RSVP so you can plan appropriate party games and other activities to involve your virtual attendees.
Planning your first post-COVID get-together might take more time and consideration than a pre-pandemic party. However, taking necessary precautions lets your friends know you care about them and their well-being. Plus, if you can make them feel comfortable, they’ll be more apt to loosen up and have some fun, which is essential to having a good time.