As we head into summer, and covid news gets better for US residents, we can begin thinking about small gatherings with people outside our household. Summer picnics and barbeques are a realistic option this year. More than 40% of the country have recieved at least one vaccine shot. Plus, the new CDC recently released new safety guidelines that relax precautions a little, giving us a few more options than we had last year.
In this post, we’ll share resources, tips for safer get-togethers, and a few fun recipes to try.
What’s Your Status?
When planning a summer picnic it may feel awkward, but the best way to protect guests is to know their vaccination status. The CDC’s safety guidelines differ for those who are fully vaccinated versus those who aren’t. Note: A person is fully vaccinated 2 weeks from their 2nd Pfizer or Moderna dose, or 2 weeks from their single Johnson & Johnson shot.
Vaccinated individuals have more freedom to safely enjoy the company of others than unvaccinated guests. Fully vaccinated people can visit with other fully vaccinated people without a mask, indoors or outdoors in small groups. The CDC does not recommend medium to large group gatherings without masks. At this time, vaccines are only available to people aged 16 and up.
So, what can a multi-generational family do to keep children under 16 and unvaccinated adults safe? In short, keep the guest list small and meet outdoors.
This graph offers a handy visual on masking for a mixed group of vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Whether your group is fully vaccinated or mixed status, a picnic will suit everyone and is a great way to visit with friends and family you’ve been unable to see while keeping those unvaccinated people safer.
Picnic Considerations in Covid
Despite positive health advances, we’re not in the clear yet. It’s a good idea to continue using basic precautions like:
Keep the guest list small.
Spread tables or picnic blankets at least 6’ apart and have households sit together.
Provide hand sanitizer pumps or a handwashing station outside.
Use biodegradable, disposable plates and cutlery.
Set up “stations” to discourage buffet-style gathering. For example, you could have a drinks station in one part of the yard, a snack station in a second area, and a trash station in a third.
Encourage dishes that don’t require shared serving utensils. While evidence suggests covid is more likely spread by aerosol droplets than touching items, it’s still safer to reduce sharing, partly because it reduces the need to congregate around a dish. Consider water bottles, organic juice boxes, and single-serving chips.
As with any picnic, remember to consider proper food temperatures—without refrigeration, food may spoil more quickly and increase potential for foodbourne illness.
Picnic Perfect Recipes
When several households attend, keep it safe by seating each group at a table to eat, 6 feet apart. These recipes can easily be split into servings for each table.
A classic hand pie makes a delicious single-serve centerpiece for the plate. Pair it with picnic dips and fresh vegetable crudites. Serve one dip and veggie set per household table in these classic glass jars. For dessert, try sheet pan brownie thins. A pitcher of bourbon punch is a fun seasonal addition for the adults.
We’re not out of the woods yet, but after more than a year of pandemic precautions, it’s exciting to inch into the social world again. Bon Appetit and happy picnicing!