Social events like weddings, birthday parties, concerts, or conferences used to be pretty normal to attend. But ever since the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, these social events have been kept to a minimum. Because gatherings have been spreading grounds for the virus, people are now second-thinking their decisions to attend social events.
According to Stanford infectious disease expert Dr. Abraar Karan, larger events that are held indoors increase the risk of being exposed to COVID-19. While health authorities strongly advise against big gatherings, that doesn’t mean you are completely prohibited from attending an important event. Especially since many organizers are now requiring their guests to be vaccinated and to wear their masks, there are still ways to keep yourself safe when attending a party or ceremony.
Things to Do Before Attending a Social Event During COVID
Decide Whether or Not It’s Safe to Attend
The first order of business is deciding whether or not you should attend the event in the first place. Considering the COVID risk, ask yourself if it is in your best interest to stay home or if you are willing to dial up your mitigation efforts to be able to attend.
Some gatherings, such as important conferences or upcoming weddings are hard to miss. But there are also those that you don’t have to go to.
Speak to the Organizers
To help you strengthen your decision of whether or not to attend the event, you can take the initiative to speak to the host or organizers. Ask them if there are any measures in place to reduce the likelihood of a COVID scare, such as if the guests are required to be vaccinated or tested, if mask-wearing requirements are in place, etc.
It’s not just the host or organizers that need to be on the lookout for COVID-19 risks at the party. You need to also take measures to ensure you’re protected and won’t be the source of spread. Doctors recommend that you are vaccinated and if eligible, boosted to attend a social event. If you are not, you can decide not to attend or get tested a couple of days prior.
Safety Tips During the Event
Assess Your Status
On the day of the event, you have to do more than just dress up and get ready to leave. Take some time to assess your own health status. Are you feeling sick? Do you feel fatigued? Are you noticing anything out of the ordinary?
If you have any symptoms of COVID on the day of the event, it will be best for you to change your plans and opt to stay home. If you’re unsure, we recommend you take a rapid home antigen test. This will also help spot a possible asymptomatic case.
Keep Masks On
COVID-19 spreads through viral droplets, hence, wearing a mask can offer an extra layer of protection. While health authorities have dropped mask mandates in outdoor spaces, you can still opt to keep your mask on throughout the event.
If you’re not comfortable with going mask-less, consider wearing a clear face mask that doesn’t fully cover your face. That way, you can foster better socialization while still staying safe.
The outdoors are your ally. If the event proper permits, choose to dine and socialize outdoors where there is proper ventilation and a lower risk of exposure to COVID-19. If the gathering is purely held indoors, we recommend you practice social distancing and as much as possible, avoid physical contact.
Post-Event Safety Measures
The safety measures don’t end after the party is over. After the event, monitor yourself for any symptoms of COVID-19. If you do have symptoms, take a rapid test and immediately self-isolate. The CDC released guidelines you can follow if you suspect you have been infected.
Assess Close Contact Possibilities
If you have received news of COVID-19 cases among the attendees, try to remember if you had any close contact with them. If you were closer to them than 6 feet for more than 15 minutes, you are considered a close contact and should quarantine for at least five days.
If You Have COVID, Inform the Host
If you test positive for COVID after the event, please do not hesitate to tell the host and attendees. This will alert them to take the necessary precautions and avoid further contact with others.
Social Events in the Time of COVID
COVID-19 cases are surging once again, which calls for the return of basic health and safety measures to protect yourself and the people around you. If you are organizing or have been invited to attend a social event, make sure you tackle the aforementioned precautions.
Remember that we are not through to the finish line just yet, and what we do from here on out can either help feed or end the pandemic.