Lot's of people will be cooking out and entertaining over the Fourth of July, regardless of whether it's a good idea to do that or not. So I did a little research into how you can keep your family and friends safe at your family parties this summer.

Here's some guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on staying safe at gatherings and cookouts:

  • Guests should stay home if they're sick or showing symptoms of COVID-19. Guests who have been exposed to COVID-19 or have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 should stay home as well. Invited guests at a higher risk for COVID-19 might want to consider skipping attending the event as well.
  • Social distancing should be encouraged. Outdoor gatherings are preferred, although if indoors, make sure the room is well ventilated. Tables and chairs should be set in a way that's easy for guests to social distance from each other. Planned activities should be those where social distancing can be maintained.
  • Minimize gestures that promote close contact like hugging, shaking hands, fist bumping.
  • Wear a mask when less than six feet from someone. Consider providing masks for guests.
  • Guests should wash their hands upon arriving and leaving the event and prior to eating or serving food.
  • The bathroom should be stocked with soap and paper towels for drying hands so guests are not sharing a towel.
  • Discourage a line outside the bathroom door.
  • Limit people in areas where food is being prepared or handled like the kitchen or around the grill. Use single serve items whenever possible. Or have one person responsible for serving shared items like salad dressing or condiments to avoid many people touching bottles or serving dishes.
  • Use gloves when cleaning up, removing trash or handling trash bags. Wash hands after disposing garbage properly.
  • Wash, clean and sanitize any re-usable dishes, plates, table cloths, seat covers etc. after your gathering.

Do these things and you'll have an excellent gathering while keeping yourself and your guests safe! For more information on keeping you and your family safe from the coronavirus, you can check out the CDC website here.