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Planning a 4th of July cookout? Here's the CDC guidance on how to make it safer

How to make your 4th of July cookout safer from coronavirus, according to CDC guidance
(Image credit: Getty)

Although COVID-19 case numbers have continued to rise in recent days, the CDC has issued advice on social and personal activities to help you stay safe if you do choose to go ahead with an outdoor celebration such as a cookout this 4th of July. 

Speaking to the AARP, the CDC’s deputy director for infectious diseases, Jay Butler, said, “we recognize that we are all getting tired of staying at home… and as we head into the summer months we know that Americans will be looking forward to reconnecting with family and friends and be able to attend events, and we want that to occur as safely as possible.”

First on the list (unsurprisingly) is to make sure that any guests invited stay away if they feel unwell. Keep gatherings small and take note of everyone who attends, to make potential contact tracing easier. Social distancing is also essential, so you’ll be counting on great weather to fire up the gas grill this July 4th. That means no handshakes or hugs, just a wave and greeting. 

Our hands have just about acclimatized to being constantly smothered in hand sanitizer, but if guests aren’t able to bring their own it’s a good idea to provide a space for visitors to wash their hands as they arrive. It’s especially important to do this while eating or drinking, even if you have kept your distance. 

COVID-19 risk varies between states, so you can use this coronavirus map to find out how your area is being affected, and be sure to make plans accordingly. Even in an area with low rates you’re not safe from infection, but statistically speaking, you’ll have to consider your plans very carefully if you do live in an area which is still in an epidemic stage. 

Should you be having your annual 4th July cookout this year? You probably already know that it’s not the best idea during the coronavirus pandemic. However, if you do decide to go ahead with your barbecue this year, the CDC’s newest guidance on how to prevent the spread of coronavirus could help you make it safer. 

Food and COVID-19

This year, you should tell guests to bring their own food if they’re coming over for a cookout. We know it’s not in the spirit of celebration, but when multiple people handle food it significantly increases your risk of infection.

If you do insist on serving food, you should choose one person to distribute it. This reduces the amount of people handling utensils, and keeps people out of communal living spaces such as the kitchen. 

“Use single-use options or identify one person to serve sharable items, like salad dressings, food containers, and condiments, so that multiple people are not handling the items”, says the CDC. You should also use hand-free garbage cans, if at all possible. 

You won’t be able to eat a burger or potato salad with a face mask on, but when you’re not eating it’s a good idea to wear face masks. You can check out our guide on where to buy reusable fabric face masks online for home delivery if you haven’t bought one yet, and you could even order in bulk to provide some very coronavirus-appropriate party favors. You should also check out our guide on how to clean your barbecue, for when everyone's gone.