Entertaining in the Time of COVID-19

Now that most parts of the country are progressing in our collective fight with Covid-19, social distancing restrictions are relaxing allowing people to spend time with friends and family.

Some areas are allowing groups to “bubble” where people can have more close physical contact with each other, touching and hugging. Since we’ve been given this green light, you might be tempted to host a small gathering at your home while the weather is still nice enough to enjoy.

We at Refined Society have five helpful tips and ideas for safe, yet fun summer entertaining.

1. Focus on keeping things simple.
This isn’t the time to create an 8-course chefs tasting menu with specific temperatures, timing and complex ingredients. By keeping your menu simple, it will give you time to focus on enjoying the weather and time with your loved ones. Rather than being stuck in the kitchen for hours, plan an easy menu that is casual and delicious and highlights some local, seasonal produce.  Something you can make ahead is even better, such as a light summer pasta salad with tasty fresh herbs and colourful veggies.

2. Choose outdoor spaces to host when you can
If you are lucky enough to have access to private outdoor space, opt for that as opposed to hosting indoors.  A balcony or patio is great a option. Public parks can also be wonderful spaces for people to get together, but if you go this route make sure to keep in mind social distancing from other groups and to choose a spot close to an open public restroom. The goal is for everyone to have space to spread out, so your group can maintain physical distancing rules without sacrificing closeness.  

3. Aim to keep the food and drink portions separate and easily shareable. Menu items like grilled chicken skewers would be great and easy to prepare in advance and serve without everyone having to touch multiple things. You may wish to package your guests’ meals up separately so that everyone has their own. Keep in mind that condiments should be packaged or served individually also.

4. Choose a designated pourer as well as mark glasses.
What’s a party without the cocktails? If you plan to enjoy wines, cocktails, or mocktails with your meals, consider having a dedicated server pour for everyone so that the bottle doesn’t have to be handled by the entire group. Label the glasses if possible or request guests to bring their own reusable cups or glasses to ensure no accidental mix-ups.

5. As the host, ensure you have personal protective supplies on hand. Remember to have plenty of hand sanitizer and disposable gloves around for anyone handling food or drink and make sure you and your guests are self-screening for symptoms BEFORE arriving at the event. Remind guests to bring their masks with them as well!

This is an unprecedented time and we have to remember we are in this together. By taking a little bit of planning and extra care we can stay safe and enjoy some summer time entertaining with the ones we love.