As Chicago moves into phase 3 under Mayor Lightfoot’s plan to reopen the city, the surrounding excitement gatherings could be felt in the air. From the Southside to the Northside and every side in between, women could be heard planning their next brunch outing. Though the declining number of positive COVID 19 test is undoubtedly a step in the right direction, we cannot get lax in the precautions we take to keep ourselves and those we love safe. Therefore, when planning to hang out with the girls, consider taking the following suggestions to ensure you are safe while still having a great time.
The Guest List
Not everyone followed the safety precautions, so it might be smart to vet your guest list. Do you have a friend who traveled recently? If so, did they self-quarantine for 14 days afterward? Do you have a friend who frequently ventured outside and was around people other than those they lived with? Do you have a friend who contracted COVID 19? If so, have they been tested again and tested negative? Do you have a friend who never took it seriously and, as a result, was plan reckless? Ask yourself and your friends these questions and decide whom you are most comfortable being face to face with.
Location, Location, Location
Restaurants and bars with patios are now allowed to serve patrons if the tables are six feet apart, and all staff wears PPE. Allowances have been made to make this possible for establishments with little space by allowing the use of sidewalks and parking lots as the dining area. This is an excellent option for you and the girls to get together, but remember to choose a location that is following these specifications. Once there assess the surroundings to ensure the safety measures are in place. If you cannot find a site that offers outdoor dining, consider meeting up at a park or someone’s backyard. This way, you can control the environment yourselves.
Home is Where the Heart is
Remember to keep the guest list short if you do decide to have a gathering at your home. No more than 10 (vetted) guests are ideal. Remember to arrange the seating so that six feet of distance can be maintained and use disposable dishes and flatware. Consider making a batch cocktail or punch and putting it in a drink dispenser so guests can safely serve themselves. Do not forget your favorite playlist and games to keep the atmosphere light and fun.
Whether you are meeting outdoors or indoors, be sure to have masks, hand sanitizers, and soap ready. We all know that hand washing and face coverings are the best way to prevent the spread of the virus.
Whatever you decide to do and or go, do not forget to be smart. In Chicago, summertime is the best time, and while this summer will not look like the summers of the past, we can still go out, be safe, reconnect, and have fun.
Paula J. Shelton is a blogger and freelance writer living in Chicago. Follow her on social media @beboldshineon.