Whether your New Years plans have changed due to COVID-19, or for other reasons, there are still ways to celebrate with loved ones from a distance. If you are planning on having a socially distanced New Year's Eve, there are a few key tips to keep in mind.
Socially Distanced New Year's Eve
While the thought of New Years may conjure up ideas of large crowds or social gatherings, with COVID-19 restrictions still in place, your plans may look different than you anticipated. There are still ways to celebrate this holiday with loved ones. Because guidelines change, it's best to check in with the Centers for Disease Control for updated information prior to making any holiday plans.
If you are planning on having a group celebration or throwing a party:
- Keep your guest list as small as possible to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19.
- You may request that your guests get the COVID-19 test a few days before the gathering.
- If possible, hold your celebration outside or in a well-ventilated room as this reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19.
- Serve food individually or in large platters for each household attending (every household should have their own platter). Use different colored platters so everyone can easily identify theirs.
- Ensure everyone wears their masks during the party.
- Set up hand sanitizing stations.
- Set up tables or eating areas based on household and keep other tables at least six feet apart from each other.
- Set up six feet markers by common gathering areas such as the drink station, bathroom, or eating areas.
- Have extra disposable masks on hand for guests who forgot theirs.
Small gatherings carry a lower risk of spreading COVID-19 compared to larger ones, so if you do opt to have a get together, the smaller the better. When hosting a small gathering:
- Serve individual dishes and drinks versus large platters and pitchers.
- If you do serve large platters and use pitchers, try to do so per household so those in different households aren't sharing anything.
- Make sure eating areas are at least six feet apart from each other.
- Maske sure guests know to keep their mask on unless eating or drinking.
- Make sure the bathrooms have hand soap and set up a hand sanitizing station.
- If you are watching a New Year's Eve countdown, set up sitting areas per household that are at least six feet apart from each other.
Local events may be canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions. If there are local events, chances are there will be restrictions or guidelines in place to keep the public as safe as possible. When attending local events:
- Be sure to check in regarding local restrictions before attending the event.
- Bring your own hand sanitizer.
- Be sure to wear your mask at all times.
- Remain six feet apart from others, except for those with whom you share a household.
- Do not attend events if you feel ill.
- Consider not attending local events if someone in your household is high risk for contracting COVID-19.
- If individuals at the event are not taking appropriate precautions to protect themselves and others from contracting COVID-19, it's best to leave to be on the safe side.
Whether you are unable to see loved ones due to the pandemic, and/or live far away from each other, virtual New Years events and activities can help you stay connected even with distance between you. You can consider:
- Face-timing during the countdown.
- Sending each other letters ahead of time that you all read at the start of the New Year.
- Sending each other New Years care packages to open on New Years day.
- Having the same New Years party theme and decorations.
- Making a New Year's Eve playlist to share and listen to as the new year nears.
Food Safety and COVID-19
Because COVID-19 is known to spread through respiratory droplets, it's best to:
- Wear a mask while food prepping and serving food, even if guests haven't arrived yet. While this isn't required, it is an extra precaution you may consider taking.
- Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before cooking and after touching anything that may carry a food borne illness such as raw eggs and raw meat.
- Follow good food safety guidelines.
- Serve individually portioned foods versus shared dishes.
- Avoid serving food buffet style.
- If you'd like to serve large style dishes, create one per each household, so those in different households aren't sharing food.
- Have guests label their glasses or use new glasses when having another drink to ensure no accidental sharing.
What Does a Socially Distanced New Year's Eve Look Like
While New Years may look different than you anticipated, there are still ways to celebrate while keeping yourself and your loved ones as safe as possible. Keep in mind that the safest way to celebrate during the pandemic is to do so with those within your household and to virtually celebrate with those outside of your household.