In fact, outdoor activities, a hike or long bike ride, finding an uncrowded swimming hole, or even gardening are safe ways to celebrate a holiday that honors our work by taking a break.
When you need to gather together, here are some of the safest ways to do it, according to epidemiologist Ali Mokdad, professor of health metrics science at the Institute of Health Metrics and Assessment at the University of Washington, and other experts:
First, best practice is to avoid family or social gatherings outside of the people in your Labor Day “confidence bubble”. But even if you lengthen this bladder over the weekend, steps still need to be taken to reduce the risk of infection:
- Meet with other families or family members outside, not inside.
- Make plans to stay outside in bad weather – “or get in your car and drive home,” Mokdad said.
- Always wear masks when you are not eating.
- Keep family units at least 6 feet or more apart.
- Make sure tables, groceries, condiments, eating utensils, and trash bins are also separated.
- Have each family bring their own food.
- When food is divided, separate it into small single-serving containers in advance.
Of course, the dangerous times are when people go to the bathroom or kitchen to prepare or refill food or drinks. Families must plan these events in advance, Mokdad said, and share safety protocols with all guests.
“If you are bringing food, make sure you bring it separately,” he said. “Tell your friend or family member, ‘When you come, wait in the car, I will unload it and put it in the pot or on the table. Then you can come into the yard.’
“We can grill, but only one of us will grill the meat,” Mokdad said, adding the following tips:
- Put the meat in a place where a person can grab it and grill it.
- Don’t meet at the grill.
- Put the grilled meat on separate plates, then go away.
- Invite people to bring up plates one at a time.
“I can only recommend that you act if you suspect you are indeed infected,” he added. “Sending in this way sends a clear message to our children, our teenagers. We need to be role models ourselves to survive this virus with less harm and keep our economies going.”