Hosting in the age of social distancing
By Mike Holmes, The Cleaning Guy
If I hear the word “unprecedented,” or the expression “the new normal” one more time, my abject COVID fatigue may cause me to emit a low-level scream! Truth told, we’re all chomping at the bit to resume deeply missed activities, and for many, that will be the joy of reconnecting with family and friends.
As exciting as this proposition is, we can’t ignore the impact that the pandemic has had on everyone’s psyche, and so when we consider entertaining again, we must realize that a) the threat is not over and b) that our guests will have different levels of comfort as they re-engage. Here are some things that may be helpful as you prepare to welcome people back to your home.
- Ask your guests in advance to be transparent about how they feel being in a small gathering. This will help you “stage” your home in a way that will allow them to feel safe.
- The great summer weather allows us gather in backyards which makes physical distancing that much easier. Prepare your seating in such a way that allows both intimacy and spacing.
- Consider using disposable and recyclable plates and cups.
- Disinfect and sanitize your main floor washroom and let your guests know that it is exclusively for their use. Sorry, but you should assign a family member to do a quick wipe-down after someone uses it so that it is disinfected for the next person (draw straws).
- If you choose to meet inside, remember, clean is king! I know that I am biased, but the message received when you let your family and friends know that you have freshly cleaned your carpets, furniture and air ducts is a loud one.
- Discourage guests from helping with cleanup. This is your chance to spoil them, so let them know upfront that this evening is your treat. It’s also a nice way of making sure that you’re not all in close proximity in the kitchen area.
- Finally, as the host, help your guests start to dream again. Maybe avoid talking about COVID-19, and rather focus on places they want to visit or things they want to do. Laugh a lot, enjoy an adult beverage or two, and breathe in this new season of hope!
If we have learned anything during this time, surely it is the realization that the simple things in life are wonderful and to be savoured. We have all self-reflected and probably wondered aloud why we used to do some of the things we used to do. So now, let’s use this “Summer Like No Other” to rebuild relationships, foster new ones and make our lives more about people than about things!
Mike Holmes is the founder of the Cleaning Guy, one of the GTA’s most respected cleaning companies. For more information about sanitization and other cleaning services, visit www.zebratruck.ca