For many individuals, life has to go on despite the ongoing threat of the pandemic. This is why despite the risks associated with public gatherings, people still choose to organize or attend them but with full awareness of the health protocols that must be in place.
At the time of writing, there are more than 22 million active COVID-19 cases worldwide, with over 128 million total cases, more than 2.8 million deaths, and over 103,000 total recoveries. These figures are a stark reminder for people to be always wary of their personal safety and the safety of their family especially when they attend public events such as weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries.
Here are five safety tips you should observe whenever you organize or take part in a social gathering during this pandemic:
Keep yourself updated with government health protocols
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) periodically releases updates on the minimum public health standards that people should use as their guides in conducting daily activities.
For example, fully vaccinated individuals are now allowed to be in the same room with other fully vaccinated people without wearing face masks or observing physical distancing. They may also visit unvaccinated low-risk individuals without observing similar precautions provided they are from the same household.
There are other guidelines that the CDC and other public health authorities issue now and then that people are ought to observe to minimize the risks of transmission. The idea is to always check for such updates to be sure that you’re attending or holding events fully compliant with the necessary safety nets.
Check if the event venue is well ventilated
Proper ventilation is a critical step in ensuring the safety of an event’s place from potential COVID-19 transmission. A venue that has poor ventilation is considered high-risk and should be avoided at any cost.
As such, be sure to check whether the venue for the event you’re attending or organizing has ample ventilation. For example, there are now plenty of barn-style, COVID-safe wedding venues available, where guests can share the newlywed’s special moment without worrying about their safety the entire time.
A customary inquiry with the organizers (f you’re a guest) or the venue owner or manager (if you’re organizing) should be enough to determine if the area is safe enough to hold the event. Generally speaking, you should prefer outdoor venues over indoor ones since the latter poses a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Minimize/take note of the number of attendees
If you’re the one organizing the event, you should keep the number of attendees to the lowest number possible, especially if the venue could not accommodate everyone with the six feet of minimum distance that is recommended by health authorities. You may opt to live stream the event, so the people whom you can’t invite to the event could still take part in it.
Meanwhile, if you’re the one invited to attend, be sure to ask the organizer how many are expected to be at the event and how big the venue is. If you surmised that the total number of expected guests would be crowded already given the available space in the venue, then you could opt to beg off politely for safety reasons.
Make sure that health protocols are observed throughout the event
If the event you’re organizing or attending involves guests who come from different households or from areas with high COVID-19 cases, then you must ensure that health protocols are strictly observed.
This includes wearing face masks, refraining from handshakes or hugging, maintaining a minimum of six feet distance among guests from different households, and frequent hand washing or application of hand sanitizers (which must be readily available at the venue).
These health protocols must be properly relayed to the guests and must be observed from beginning to end of the event. At no point should you let your guard down since a single guest who fails to follow the minimum health precautions could compromise the safety of everyone in attendance.
Mind the length of the event
Experts agree that the longer the event is, the higher the chances of transmission. With this in mind, you must ensure that the event would be conducted without unnecessary fanfare or delays. Whether it’s a wedding, product launch, or any type of public gathering, time should be used wisely and it’s your responsibility if you’re organizing the event.
Meanwhile, if you’re among the guests, you could also weigh whether you’ll finish the entire event or leave before it’s over, especially if it’s already over the expected time. Your safety is of paramount importance and you have the right to leave when you think your safety can be compromised.
With these safety precautions, organizing or attending any public gathering during this pandemic should be relatively safer on your end.