Patio Parties are the Solution to Hosting During Covid-19!
Hosting a Patio Party During COVID-19?
The summer of 2020 hasn’t gone the way many have planned, with the impacts of COVID-19 spreading across communities. While many gatherings and special events have been put on hold, many areas are lifting restrictions on more intimate get-togethers. In an effort to stay safe, while also enjoying the remaining summer days, the best option to host friends or celebrate a special occasion at home is through an outdoor patio party.
Patio parties are a great way to bring a small gathering of close friends or family together while maintaining the health of our loved ones in the midst of the pandemic.
One of the greatest parts of outdoor parties is the ability to spread out and enjoy the space nature can provide. Even socially distanced, friends and neighbors are able to have a nice evening together. When hosting these events, the details in the setup become crucial to having an elegant party. Instead of setting the food out in metal tins or plastic plates, consider a wood board. Cutting boards and cheese boards make for great elegant table settings and can be used to elevate the mood while keeping everyone safe.
Restrictions to Keep in Mind
There have been a series of guidelines established by both local governments and medical authorities. Be sure to review the regulations established for your specific community before hosting any events. If your community doesn’t have any current restrictions, still always be sure to practice good hygiene.
In many states, the guidelines have been set to limit group sized to 10 individuals, with restaurants enforcing a limit of 6 people per dining table. Knowing this, encourage your guests to maintain their space from others at the party. If you're wanting to host an event with more than 10 guests and it is permitted, consider hosting it as an open-house style patio party. This will allow guests to rotate through your gathering without having the entire guest list present at the same time.
Encourage guests to wear face masks if possible and encourage non-family units to maintain space while sitting or eating together. Designate a measuring tool to help individuals keep six feet apart when possible and remind visitors to avoid clustering together at food or restroom spaces. As hard as it can be to see friends or family and not greet them with a hug, encourage guests as well to adopt elbow bumps as a fun COVID approved greeting.
People have varying degrees of comfort in group settings right now, so encourage guests to participate only to their level of concern. Don’t feel offended if individuals chose to bring their own food from home, or decline the invitation to the event altogether. Instead, ask guests what you can do as the host to help them feel safe and provide multiple avenues for entertainment so that all needs can be respected.
Entertain Your Guests
Outdoor events are always a pleasure to host. Simple lawn games can often be enjoyed without close-contact. Encourage guests to bring an activity to share or outline the order of events prior to arrival. Providing details in advance of the party can help everyone involved plan their evening and feel safe to attend. Give space to attendees who may be concerned about social distancing as well, ensuring a great way to include all of your community while still respecting the individual decisions of each guest.
Turning food into an activity is also a great way to have some fun during a patio party. Encourage guests to bring their own cutting board and have a contest to compete for the best presentation. As entertainment, set out a small wood board for guests to build their own serving tray to eat for dinner. Make the guests feel like the chef by turning dinner into an event!
Know that right now may not be the best time to host a meal-based event. Offering prepackaged foods, or individually prepared plates can help everyone feel more comfortable. Also, remind guests that they are welcome to bring their own food from home should they not feel safe eating communally. Providing a beautiful venue complete with candles and patio lights can truly lift people’s spirits. Creativity is the name of the game!
Design Your Event
Hosting an event outside can often be a low-effort activity as decorating a patio is much easier than decorating a home or indoor venue. Take the time to ensure you have proper lighting for the time of day in which you’re hosting your event, adding string lights or outdoor lamps for dinner gatherings. Remove any linens or fabric decorations such as placemats or table coverings. These can't be sanitized between users and can encourage the spread of the virus if shared between users. Turn household items such as a cutting board into a serving plate to be able to spread food across stations.
Have plenty of seating for everyone and encourage guests to bring their own chairs. Many homes have seating designed for closer quarters than social distancing allows, so consider any couch or bench seating to be for one guest only. This also means providing space between seats for any tables where food will be shared.
Prioritize having sanitization options available as well for rotating seating. Plastic or metal lawn chairs can be cleaned between guests should there be a need to share seats. This also covers sanitizing any tabletop surfaces guests will be eating at, especially for children who may not keep all of their food on their plates.
This can also give hosts an opportunity to show off their decorative style in presenting a party outside. Instead of setting food out in metal tins or plastic plates, consider a wood board or a serving tray. Cutting boards and cheese boards make for great charcuterie server designs. Spread food stations across the patio space to prevent clusters of guests from forming.
Build your buffet table with social distancing in mind! Ensure all serving plates to pick from have utensils dedicated to their tray. Separate personal use items into per-person packages, and spread foods across multiple tables. Giving distance between items allows multiple guests to be at the buffet without feeling crowded as well as helps to reduce any potential risk of exposure. Offering individually wrapped place settings can also help protect your guests.
Decorate with Food
Fill table spreads with food options that look as good as they taste! Simple finger-foods are able to be prepped in advance and displayed for guests when they arrive. Be sure to consider the food that’s available individually wrapped for those who may be at a higher risk or even ask guests to bring their own food. Set an elegant table complete with wood serving boards that are sanitized for each person.
Stack and display foods on elegant boards to help it feel like a proper event. There are a lot of options for different serving plates to use. Consider using a cherry wood board or a walnut wood board to add different tones of wood to the serving table. Build a cheese board with soft cheese and pair them with crackers or toast for guests to sample. Pairing this with wine samples as well can turn an afternoon even into a more elegant adult gathering.
Wood boards give any party a homey atmosphere, especially when selecting to display fine foods on elegant boards. Display charcuterie board items across different plates or cutting boards to fill any space. Build not only a cheese board but also a fruit board or a dessert board. Simple treats such as mini cookies, marshmallows, and bite-sized chocolates can add diversity to a spread without much effort to create.
Don’t set any food out for communal consumption, which means bags of chips or vegetable trays. When going with a charcuterie board meal, consider building one for each guest individually rather than having one for the whole party to share.
If these are options you’d like to share, set options out in individually packaged portions or post signage directing guests to only select food with clean utensils rather than using their hands. Be sure to also set spaces for disinfectant as well! Hand sanitizer and washing stations are a great way to help guests feel more comfortable while also protecting everyone in attendance.
Find Ways to Give Back
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on communities across the world. Many individuals are without work and are struggling to have their basic needs met in the midst of this crisis. Nonprofit organizations are reporting an increase in demand for their services as those impacted are in need of food aid and financial support. In addition to this, many front-line essential workers have been forced out of their homes into self-isolation to prevent any possible exposure to their families.
These impacts are far-reaching and have hit most local economies negatively. With that in mind, those who are privileged to not be facing financial struggles can take this opportunity to give back. Use your patio party as a fundraiser for COVID-19 relief efforts while also taking the time to reconnect with loved ones.
An easy way to raise funds is to have each guest donate an item to the patio party. Then silent auction the items throughout your time together. When the party is over, the winners can claim their prize and have something to take home with them. Auction charcuterie boards, cheese boards, or even a luxury small wood board that can be used again and again.
This way, guests are able to show off their creative skills while providing entertainment for your party and giving back to the community. What better way to spend an evening than that? Connect with your local community resources to find ways to donate the funds raised to your immediate area for those who need support.
COVID-19 has changed how social gatherings will look for the time being. With that in mind, don't cancel all of your events! Instead, look for fun and creative ways to get together with those who matter the most while still taking precautions to keep everyone safe.
Hosting an event outside, such as a patio party, allows you to socialize without keeping guests too close together. Keeping gathering sizes small, or encouraging a rotating guest list can help to minimize the spread of the disease. Remind those who do attend to wear face masks, wash their hands, and never share food or drink with those who aren't in their immediate household.
Be understanding that some guests may not be ready for a group event! In those instances, show compassion and remind them that there will be many more events to come as global affairs calm down. For those who are ready to socialize, do what you can to make any event one that benefits not just those in attendance but also your local community. Find efforts to volunteer for, donate to, or fundraise on behalf of that can be a benefactor of your get together!
Hosting a patio party is a great way to have an elegant social gathering that maintains all of the official CDC recommended guidelines. Show off your chef skills with an artfully displayed serving tray and decorate with cherry wood board or walnut wood board to highlight the beauty of summer displays. Or treat yourself to a new cherry wood board and an array of wines to sample to make for a luxury night with friends.