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If you’re hoping to make the most of Memorial Day by having a few family members or friends over, there are ways to do it safely, but you need to take extra precautions. In a recent interview with CNN, Professor Erin Bromage, a biology professor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth gave some great tips on how to have some safe family fun.
Bringing your own is the best advice. Ask guests to bring their own food, cutlery, and plates — disposable isn’t great for the planet, but it’s the better option. Look to use environmentally-friendly options, such as bamboo. There should be no communal plates of food. So if you are having a barbecue, make sure the food comes off the grill and straight onto the individual’s plate.
Once it gets down to eating, you should stick to the people from your immediate family with whom you have normal contact. Other households should sit in their units, keeping a safe distance from each other. Bromage recommends groups of families sit opposite each other with some obstacle in between preventing them from breaching the safe distance: an over-sized table or a fire pit would work well.
To mask or not to mask
If the distance is kept safe and the gathering small, Bromage considers that it would not be that risky to go without wearing masks, especially in areas least affected by the virus. However, if there are “loud” family members, or moments when distancing might be compromised, he suggests a mask would be desirable. In any case, make sure to bring a mask with you just in case.
As with most gatherings, guests may need to use the bathroom. In this case it would be wise to keep all doors open en route to the bathroom to be used for guests — this will limit the touching of door handles. You might want to have a pack of napkins at the ready so that if a guest enters the bathroom they can close the door using a napkin, or to lift the toilet seat. Bromage reminds us to make sure the toilet is shut before flushing to limit the spreading of any germs.
As is tradition, sports play a big part of Memorial Day activities. It’s recommended to avoid games like football and to opt for soccer instead. (This is when those masks could come in handy). Make sure all physical contact is limited and aim to kick the ball to each other rather than going in for some heavy duty tackling. Any other non-contact sports where physical distance can be maintained are preferable.
One of the problems with alcohol consumption is you don’t have the same control of your actions. So keep any drinking to a minimum and opt for some individual drinks — remember to avoid any communal drinking from the same bottle.
There is not much evidence on the virus being caught in swimming pools. Bromage reiterates that if a pool is properly maintained, with the correct levels of chlorine, then it should be safe to use the pool. However, social distancing must be maintained, so keep to one end and a safe distance from others.