The coronavirus pandemic has continued but with Georgia and other states around the country easing restrictions, some may wonder if it's safe to invite friends over for a barbecue this summer.
Experts say there’s no evidence that COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, can be transmitted through food or food packaging.
"We don't really have any evidence that food or food packaging is a source for getting sick" from COVID-19," Benjamin Chapman, a professor and food safety specialist at North Carolina State University told LiveScience.
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Still, people should be sure to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before eating. Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be used if you can't get to a sink and water.
Despite all the precautions, know there are risks involved with having people around. But if you want to host a cookout, here are some tips on how you can ensure health and safety are put first.
Keep guests to a minimum
While it may be tempting to invite all your friends over — experts advise against it. You may even want to restrict it to only the people you live with.
"What I think people need to do is reframe summer. Have fun with smaller groups, but have fun because this is a long road," Dr. Preeti Malani, chief health officer and professor of medicine and infectious disease at the University of Michigan told CNBC.
Do things differently for older adults
While you may want grandpa or grandma to join the festivities, it's safer to designate a person to drop a plate off at older relatives' homes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states older adults are among the people who are most at risk of contracting the coronavirus. As such, they should avoid gatherings.
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All seating should be outside and, if possible, people should go directly into your yard without coming through the home, according to Delish. Dr. Julie Swann, the department head of the Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at NC State University, told the food website you should cancel the event or have everyone leave if it rains.
Avoid letting guests put together their meals
One person should be designated for putting together food, another for condiments and someone else should serve drinks, Dr. Rashid A. Chotani, an epidemiologist and infectious disease specialist at Health Central, told Today.com.
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Portion out food for individuals
"Have individual packages or portions of things," Marybeth Sexton, assistant professor of medicine in Emory University's Division of Infectious Diseases told WebMD. "You definitely don't want multiple people putting their hands into something."
You can use individual bags or ramekins to accomplish this.
Disinfect before, during and after
Dr. Shira Doron, an infectious disease physician at Tufts Medical Center, suggested to Today.com that people thoroughly disinfect all high-touch areas before, throughout and after the cookout.
“The good news is that the virus that causes COVID-19 is easy to kill,” Doron said. “Any household disinfectant should do the trick.”