Tasmanians love to get together – birthdays, barbecues, watching the footy (or cricket) and enjoying dinner with friends. From the big moments to small impromptu gatherings, meeting at each other’s homes is part of our cultural fabric.
COVID-19 has changed the way we need to think about and manage visits and gatherings at our homes. This time of year the weather is starting to warm up and there is more to celebrate. Grand finals, leaving school, Halloween, warmer weather drinks and barbecues. Beyond that the start of the holiday season doesn’t seem too distant – Christmas and New Year planning may already be underway in some households.
To keep doing the things we love and spending time with family and friends at home, we need to keep on top of COVID. That means making sure our choices and behaviours will help to keep us, our families and the broader community safe from the threat of COVID-19.
There are some simple steps you can implement in the home environment to keep on top of COVID:
Hosting a COVID-safe gathering at home:
- Gatherings at home are limited to a maximum of 20 guests. This limit does not include the people who normally live at the house or property. A gathering at home includes all events and casual catch-ups that you might host at your house, shack or on property you own. The 20 guest limit remains the same whether you live in a big or small house, own a shack or a large block.
- Ensure there is soap at your sink/s and provide hand sanitiser to visitors. Make it easy for people to wash their hands.
- Host your event outdoors if possible, it is harder to spread COVID-19 in an outdoor space.
- Prepare and serve food and drinks safely; this means:
- Always wash your hands before preparing, serving or eating any food.
- Limit the number of people in the food preparation and serving area, i.e. the kitchen or around the barbecue.
- Identify one person to serve all food so that multiple people don’t need to handle the serving utensils.
- Give share plates/platters a miss. Use individual items or plates so that multiple people aren’t making contact with food before it is eaten. Don’t share drinks.
- If you can, spread out and keep a bit of distance between your guests.
- Remind guests not to attend if they have cold or flu-like symptoms or are otherwise unwell.
- It is a good idea to keep a record of who attended just in case a COVID-19 case is later identified. We can never be 100% certain that a case or outbreak won’t happen.
Visiting or attending an event at someone else’s home:
- Wash your hands before you leave home and when you arrive. Make sure to practise regular hand washing especially if food or drinks are served.
- Don’t hug, kiss or shake hands to greet others not from your household. It is okay to say no to these types of interactions. Equally, do not assume others will be comfortable with being hugged or kissed – even if this is how you would usually greet one another.
- Be respectful of your family, friends and community. Don’t bring illness with you to gatherings. If you have cold or flu-like symptoms you should stay at home and organise a COVID-19 test. There will be other occasions to catch up and it’s not worth the risk of spreading illness that can become deadly for other people.
Tasmanians have already done such a great job at adopting the behaviours needed to keep on top of COVID. It can become so easy to be complacent when we are feeling comfortable and protected. It’s so important to recognise that the pandemic has not subsided in other parts of the world and that the threat to us remains. The behaviour changes we have made must remain in place until we have a vaccine against COVID-19.
Staying COVID-safe at home doesn’t have to be complicated, it is just paying a bit of extra attention when preparing, and during, each gathering. This will ensure you’ve done all that you can to help keep our community well and our (in person) social lives thriving.