By: Natasha Archary
With the country expected to head into a second wave of COVID-19 cases, and President Cyril Ramaphosa expected to tighten restrictions, we need to brace ourselves for a safer holiday season. We understand, it’s a time of the year that calls for celebrations with friends and family but let’s be responsible and protect each other.
We’d hate to get back to a hard lockdown, having just settled into our “new normal” way of life and reintegrating back into society. We’ve just begun to have nights out again, albeit with a curfew, but it’s a privilege we’re not ready to lose again. So if you’re hosting or attending a holiday party, dinner, lunch or family gathering this holiday season, practice the following etiquette to keep yourself and your guests safe.
Most venues allow patrons to remove masks once they are seated at their tables. But if you’re at a bar with a dance floor, the rule is that your masks stay on. While the venue will regulate the number of people in attendance, social distancing alone in such a social setting isn’t enough.
If you’re hosting a family gathering or party at home, ensure that all guests have a mask on before entering, or provide one for guests who show up sans mask. It doesn’t matter how well you know the person, it’s a rule you should be strict about enforcing.
Respect the RSVP
It’s a numbers game at the moment, and we need to be within the COVID-19 regulations of 250 people or less if it’s an indoor gathering or 500 or less for outdoors. Whether or not your gathering will hit these numbers, it’s important to have guests RSVP. This rules out any unexpected additions and makes budgeting for food and drinks easier on the host.
If you’re the guest, remember it’s rude to extend the invite to someone else if you’ve not been given the option of a plus one.
A gift for the host
Unless it’s an office party, take your host a little keepsake or something that could be enjoyed by everyone at the table. A light snack, bottle of wine, dessert, chocolates, something. The point is to not show up empty handed.
Food, drinks and servings
At a time where people are paranoid about sanitising everything, ensure your guests feel comfortable with the layout of the food, drinks, utensils and dinnerware. Keep a bottle of sanitiser and wipes close by, so guests can sterilise communal cutlery or serving utensils. Make sure food stays covered when not being served and that anyone handling the food has gloves and masks on.
Glasses should be taken away after each drink and not left unattended. You can mistakenly pick up a glass that’s not yours, so glass in hand at all times.
Know your limits
The last thing any host wants is to deal with a guest who has knocked back a few too many G&Ts and is creating a scene. It’s disrespectful and you look the fool. Don’t expect an invite back to the next holiday party, if you cannot handle your alcohol or know your limits. Remember, no drinking and driving and the new curfew is 11pm.