After nine months of fearing for our health, we finally got what we’ve been waiting for: The COVID-19 vaccine. Frontline health workers have started to get their shots, and the rest of the citizens are now getting theirs, too. You need two shots and wait a week or two after your second dose to be fully vaccinated. After that, it’s safe to assume that you’re now immune to COVID-19 — at last!
However, being fully vaccinated isn’t a cue for you to start disregarding health protocols. According to experts, quick grocery or post office runs are still the safest excursions you can make. Though you have significantly decreased your risk of getting sick, there’s no evidence yet that the vaccine makes you immune to spreading the virus.
Despite the vaccine’s high efficacy rate, scientists are still waiting to learn if vaccinated people can spread the virus. Given the newest strains’ rapid spread, a small fraction of people can still get sick, and you may be among the carriers of that deadly virus.
Hence, though local health protocols are no longer as strict, you should keep observing caution during a social gathering. Instead of going back to normal, neuroeconomist at the University of California Uma Karmarkar recommends “moving forward”. It means don’t take off your masks yet, because COVID-19 isn’t the last pandemic we will experience.
Pointers for Hosting a Party at Home
Viruses spread quicker in a closed environment with an air conditioner, so hold your party outside, preferably in a big yard where you can practice physical distancing. Prepare the space by mowing your lawn, erecting a canopy if necessary, and placing the seats six feet apart. If you’re having a party at night, consider installing high-quality outdoor lighting wall packs to provide adequate and aesthetic illumination.
Keep Sanitizers Within Arms’ Reach
Your guests will probably bring their own sanitizers; it’s a habit we’ve all acquired amid the pandemic. But still, providing sanitizers for each table won’t hurt. Young children and forgetful adults will thank you for it.
Prepare Disinfectants for Surfaces in High-traffic Areas
Even if you’d host the party in your yard, your guests would still come inside occasionally to use the bathroom or hang out in the kitchen. So prepare EPA-approved disinfectants against COVID-19 in those high-traffic areas, so that you can immediately wipe the surfaces your guests have touched.
The point of wearing masks doesn’t get lost after you get your shots. If you choose not to wear yours anymore, that could be fine, as long as you won’t interact with a vulnerable person anytime soon. Otherwise, it’s best to keep it on. Let your guests wear them too; simply put, don’t make your party all about breaking the health protocols. We’re not done battling the virus yet!
Ensure Proper Ventilation
Since you’re holding the party outdoors, you’re certainly getting proper ventilation. But just in case you chose to stay inside, increase air circulation by allowing outdoor air in. Turn off the A/C and opt for open windows instead. If the weather will require some type of cooling, find a way for your A/C or fans not to blow air directly into someone.
Avoid Sharing of Utensils
Though food doesn’t spread COVID-19, sharing utensils can, because of your saliva. So prepare your food buffet-style, with a single person serving everyone. Also, don’t prepare anything that might contain allergens. One significant life lesson we’ve learned during the pandemic is that we can get very sick anytime.
When happy hour begins, everyone will remove their masks already and potentially forget about physical distancing and sharing utensils. Sure, your vaccines have already lowered your risks for getting infected, but again, there’s no proof that you’re totally immune yet. Drink responsibly and reserve your wilder parties in the future, when we’re absolutely certain that we won’t spread the virus anymore.
Considering all the preventive measures above, it seems that your party will become more stifling than exciting. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. You’ve survived worse, particularly lockdowns and virtual meetings. Following the health protocols is just a small price to pay for maintaining your health. Your patience and discipline will not go unrewarded.
Most importantly, don’t take your and your friends’ health for granted. You can hug and completely abandon social distancing, but do those at your own risk. Stay conscious of the potential consequences. Go on a 14-day quarantine afterward because many people haven’t gotten their shots yet. And you’d most likely encounter one of those people after the party, so you better not be a carrier when that happens.