After more than a year of doing most things at home, probably by your lonesome or only a handful of family members and friends, you think you’re ready to widen your circle this 2021. And the next special occasion sounds like the ideal excuse to do that.
But if you’re in Utah, you may want to plan your gatherings well to make sure everyone remains safe and healthy at the end of the day. To do that, keep in mind the following ideas:
1. Know the State Rules First
On April 10, Utah has officially lifted its mask mandate with a couple of caveats. It does not apply to all places, including Salt Lake City. You and your guests may also still need to wear it if you’re in commercial spaces that require it, such as grocery stores and restaurants.
If you want to feel more comfortable being with loved ones with masks on, you can celebrate in your home. Some event rentals allow you to set up tents and other party supplies right in your yard.
2. Be Careful When Partying in an Airbnb
If you’re thinking of renting an Airbnb for a more exclusive party away, proceed with caution. The popular accommodation rental platform is conducting a massive crackdown on people using their house listings as venues for noisy parties.
Depending on the property, the company limits the number of guests to no more than 16 people. It also launched a campaign called the Summer of Responsible Travel. During this period:
- Guests with no positive reviews cannot book accommodation for one night on the Fourth of July.
- Superhosts may work with Airbnb in installing noise detection devices. They will receive discounts if they wish to use these types of tech.
- Airbnb has also opened a neighborhood support line that runs 24/7. As its name suggests, neighbors can report any disruptive noise and trouble that your group may cause while renting the accommodation.
3. Consider Expanding Your Bubble to Vaccinated Individuals
The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States may be more manageable compared to the previous year, but the virus is still around. Worse, new variants are appearing. This means that people cannot let their guard down.
To be safe, you may want to expand your bubble on vaccinated individuals first. According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people can meet with others of the same status indoors without wearing masks or practicing social distancing.
Further, they may travel domestically without subjecting themselves to quarantine and testing before and after flying.
They may meet up with unvaccinated people indoors without masks or social distancing, but this applies only if the latter are of low risk of developing severe COVID-19 disease. In other words, they don’t have the common risk factors for infection and hospitalization, such as old age and comorbidities.
But how do you know that you are fully vaccinated? You can already consider yourself fully vaccinated two or more weeks after receiving the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna or two or more weeks after a single dose of Janssen (from Johnson & Johnson).
4. Hold Your Party Outdoors
One effective strategy in minimizing the risks of catching and spreading the coronavirus is to practice social distancing. That is to ensure everyone can distance themselves by at least six feet from one another.
However, a new study suggests that distance may be moot if the people gather indoors. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers revealed that the risk of transmission remains the same whether individuals are 6 feet or 60 feet apart as long as they’re in an enclosed space. This is even if people wear a mask.
Note, though, that the study is based on mathematical formulations, and the results in real-life situations can still vary from those of the study. Moreover, the researchers didn’t say you cannot meet indoors.
However, if you want to stay indoors, you may want to limit the number of people and time of gathering. It cannot last for several minutes or hours.
Because the point is to always be on the side of caution, consider holding your parties outdoors. This way, the risks of airborne transmission drop. When people need shade, they can use big umbrellas, awnings, or open tents. Otherwise, if outdoor options are sorely lacking, they need to open windows and doors and run fans to ensure good air circulation.
As more people receive their vaccines and cases drop, meeting people in Utah may be more convenient or easier. However, unless the world declares itself as pandemic-free, always make safety a priority.