How to host a COVID-proof dinner this holiday season
As we are closely approaching the end of the year, we begin to reflect on the ways that we could possibly enjoy this period safely with our loved ones. While a simple look at the many decorations outside can make us feel the holiday spirit, it is certain that most things will be a bit different this year.
As a result, the process of organising a dinner with our friends or family will also need to be adapted to fit the current situation, keeping in mind the current government guidelines in your local area. For this reason, hosting a safe gathering will be a bit more challenging than in previous years. To make this process a little bit easier and to give you some inspiration ahead of time, we have six tips for hosting a COVID-proof dinner this year.
1. Create a transition area
This could be an area at the entrance of your home, or just before the main reception area. In this area, guests can sanitise their hands and leave their shoes, coats, and bags before entering. This way, you can minimise the contact between outdoor objects and indoor surfaces, which have already been cleaned. Make sure to stock this area with plenty of hand sanitiser, disinfectant wipes, and maybe even a few spare masks for your guests.
2. Increase ventilation
The simplest way to do this is to open windows more frequently, for example, for 10 minutes every 15 minutes. If you have air conditioning, you could check that it does not only circulate the air that is already in the room but that it also brings in fresh air from outside, replacing the indoor air at specific time intervals. To increase the effectiveness of the ventilation in your house, you could even measure the amount of CO2 present in the air and keep your windows open accordingly, or purchase an air purifier with HEPA filters that will filter out unwanted particles.
3. Optimise the circulation
First and foremost, ensure that your dining table has plenty of space around it so that people are less likely to be too close to each other while taking their seats or when leaving the table - make sure you’re able to maintain 1,5-metre distance at all times.
To do this, you could place the dining table in an area that is as open as possible, and avoid one that has a narrow corridor leading up to it. Alternatively, you could try to move any furniture that gets in the way of people's route to and from the table.
4. Implement social distancing
You'll also need to keep your distance when you're sat down at table and enjoying your meal.
The easiest way to do this is to the seats at the dinner table further away from each other, to give your guests plenty of space for social distancing. To make this happen, you might want to make sure that you have a big enough table, or you could consider combining two tables.
5. Adapt your dinner
Your meal can also be served in a way that minimises unnecessary contact between people: you could avoid sharing the same cutlery, as well as food. For instance, you could aim to have separate dipping pots and to place your condiments into smaller cups as well. You could also separate your starter platters into different plates beforehand. Additionally, you could aim to have as much of the food, drinks, and spices already on the table in order to minimise the circulation of yourself and your guests in and out of the kitchen, especially if it is not an open kitchen.
6. Consider placing your dining table outside
This could be another way to ensure social distancing, as well as guaranteeing that the air you and your guests breathe is as fresh and safe as possible. This could be either done by using a backyard, a balcony, or a green area in the proximity of your home. To keep your guests warm, use outdoor heaters and have some warm drinks with festive flavours ready, such as mulled wine, hot chocolate, or tea.
Stay safe and stay healthy
We hope that these tips for having a safe dinner at home will come in handy this holiday season. Holidays will be slightly different this year and, unfortunately, that is beyond our power. What we can be in control of is our own enjoyment and our own safety, which is also the biggest priority during this time. Even though the number of visitors that we will be able to receive in our homes is limited, video calls will help us feel connected to our loved ones before we can meet them again in person.
Until then, we wish you happy holidays and a better 2021!
Whatever you're doing this holiday season, make sure you adhere to the government measures and keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy - don't exceed the maximum number of guests allowed, or the maximum group size advised when outdoors.