BOSTON — The Memorial Day BBQ is a backyard staple.
If firing up the grill is on your list this year, then keeping social distance will need to be part of your socializing.
Dr. Erin Bromage is a comparative immunologist at UMass Dartmouth. He runs a blog with health tips on COVID-19, which has since gone viral. With the holiday upon us, Bromage says safety remains a top priority.
“We are looking at moving around a little bit more and having these barbecues, if we’re doing them, make sure that we’re doing the barbecues outdoors with as much space as we possibly can," said Bromage.
So, if you’re visiting friends or neighbors, you should do it in a socially distant way and masks should be on hand.
“If you can maintain the distance while you’re outside, you are fine without masks unless you’re in an area that is a bit of a hotspot at the moment," said Bromage. "Have them with you.”
As for food, bring your own food, Bromage says. That way, not everyone is reaching into the same bowl for chips.
“Especially when you’re adding young kids into the mix as well, hands go into it, hands go in mouth, hands back into the bowl," said Bromage.
He says that, when grilling, the heat does kill the virus. However, to be safe, be sure the food comes right off the grill and goes straight on to the person’s plate.”
And he adds that the bathroom is one place we all use that we must pay special attention to this year.
“Indoors are the most risky environment we have for transmission of this virus, but people need to use the bathrooms," said Bromage. "So, there are things that you can do to make it just a little bit safer. Have all the doors towards the bathroom open so no one has to touch handles, no one needs to open and close things going through.”
Also, if you’re serving alcohol at your gathering, just be cautious. Bromage says it can complicate things.
“When we drink a little, we get a little closer, we get a little more touchy, hands can touch shoulders; we just need to be careful with that," said Bromage. “Make sure that with the drinks and with the plates and cutlery, you’ve got somewhere to dispose of things straight away.”
The good news as the temperatures begin to rise is that, if you have a pool, enjoy it. As long as it is a properly maintained, the pool should be safe.
“There’s no real thought that the virus can be transmitted through properly maintained pool water, but if you’re in that pool, social distancing becomes important again," said Bromage.
If you toss a football around, you may want to hold off and kick a soccer ball instead lowering the risk of contact.
And lastly, any trash you collect should be disposed of with as little contact as possible to lower any contamination risk.
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