CHICAGO (CBS) — Brats and brews; firing up the grill is a Memorial Day ritual for many, but with the coronavirus still cooking, is it safe to invite guests to join your barbecue?
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No one wants another wave of quarantine, not when the weather’s finally better, the unofficial start of barbecue season here, but we can’t bury our heads in the sand either.
“Everybody is really itching to get time with their friends,” said Dr. Emily Landon, lead epidemiologist at University of Chicago Medicine.
“With each additional person, the risk goes up quite a bit,” said Dr. Irfan Hafiz, an infectious disease specialist at Northwestern Medicine.
Landon and Hafiz both said small get-togethers with people outside your home aren’t off-limits anymore, within reason.
“I don’t see a problem with ‘quaran-teaming,’ as they say, if it’s within your risk assessment of what is okay for you and for your family,” Landon said.
However, social distancing with lawn chairs or at the table is still crucial.
“I wouldn’t have a tape measure out, but just within reasonable distance there. If you can’t shake hands with that person, you’re probably about six feet apart,” Hafiz said.READ MORE: Cook County Circuit Court Website Back Online, After Weeks-Long Outage Caused By Breach
That’s a good visual for this invisible virus, which got us thinking about germs on public park equipment, such as picnic tables, or grills, or benches.
“I’m not as worried about environmental contamination that way, if someone’s going for a picnic,” Hafiz said. “It’s more the people you are exposed to,.
Consider limiting exposure by leaving the grilling grub at home. Maybe it’s just a memorial day hangout. Eating and drinking requires removing your face covering, increasing the risk of spreading the virus.
“Including cocktail parties where they have those masks with the little straw holes in them, that doesn’t work, people! So if you’re going to have activities with other people, and you want to stay protected, you want to try for the six feet of distance, and you also want to keep your masks on,” Landon said.
That sounds fine and dandy, until someone needs to go to the bathroom. So is it okay to let guests inside your home to use the facilities if you host a small gathering for Memorial Day?
“Probably just letting that one person go in, use the bathroom, and come back out; so you’re not sharing that closed close space,” Hafiz said.
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The doctors said meeting outdoors is better than indoors, because of air circulation. They also said kids can’t be trusted to socially distance, so really consider all factors before hosting a barbecue.