We have all been staying inside our houses for too long, and some of us may already be itching to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. However, we’re still in a pandemic and we’re all worried about our safety.
Good news: You can actually go out for picnics! Just follow these guidelines and make sure to wear your mask and observe health guidelines on public activities.
No to spontaneous trips
Just like any other trip, you should set and check your picnic location ahead of time. By check, it means confirming the park hours and which days they’re open, and knowing when their off-time is so you don’t come to the park during that period to avoid crowds. Choose parks wisely, too. This means avoiding city parks (where more people from all over different places flock) and opting for neighborhood parks instead.
If possible, you should pick a location close to your home. It’s even better if you own a private green space because this ensures that no one else has been to that spot, making your family safe from catching the virus.
Your safest bet would be doing a picnic inside. This seems impossible, but with the help of technology, you can do this within the comfort and safety of your home. Play some nature sounds, stream aquarium or forest videos, and lay out your picnic essentials.
Pack more than just the essentials
In this case where you don’t want to use public utilities as much as possible, look forward to packing heavy. This means bringing as much personal stuff as you can to avoid relying on park items which may either be unavailable at the moment or unsafe for use because of the risk of catching the virus.
The basic items would be your mask, hand sanitizer or alcohol, and gloves. To avoid using or touching items (such as tables and chairs) that other people who came before you had touched, bring your own picnic tables and chairs (if you’re not comfortable sitting on a picnic blanket). It’s also good to bring plenty of water for the trip because chances are, the drinking fountains won’t be available for use.
If you plan to bring other people—meaning, the people whom you do not live with at home, like friends, colleagues, and relatives—to the picnic, make sure that they will have a separate “picnic group.” This means that they’d have to bring their own tables and blankets, and their picnic spot would be set up at least six feet away from yours. Remember: There’s no harm in being extra careful.
On food preps
Picnic food should also be planned ahead of time. Consider packing food that does well outside, like finger foods and chips. You could try making different dips to vary the flavor but remember to pack separate dip containers especially if you plan to share the dip between picnic groups.
You can also bake if you’re up for a more challenging task. Keep it simple, but yummy enough for the folks to enjoy in the great outdoors.
A simple food idea would be a cheese and meat platter along with some bread or crackers. Throw in some nuts or olives and you’re good to go for sandwiches. Pack each food item in separate containers instead of making the sandwiches ahead of time to avoid getting soggy food.
If you don’t feel like prepping food, you can always order from your local restos and food chains. That way, you’ve saved yourself time and helped a business during the pandemic.
Not sharing is caring
This is a very basic rule. Avoid passing food and utensils back and forth especially between picnic groups to avoid contamination.
To avoid emergency sharing (for example, the other group didn’t bring ketchup or they’re one spoon short), coordinate with the other picnic group in advance to make sure that you both have drinks, condiments, and utensils.
In pandemic picnics, the traditional Frisbees and soccer balls would have to be avoided because it requires participants to touch the game paraphernalia. Park playgrounds are to be avoided, too, because play structures are most likely not sanitized well.
Now, what you could do to replace the classic picnic games is to make use of technology. Download games that can be played in groups, may it be online (Scrabble or COD) or offline (Heads Up! or other charade-type games). The less physical contact required, the better. Nothing says safe fun more than socially-distanced gaming!
CLAYGo is the way to go
No need for elaboration—this is a common etiquette, so in general, just clean as you go. Don’t leave your waste on your picnic spot to avoid polluting the environment and avoid placing undue burden on those who do the cleanup work at the park.
Keep in mind that when all else fails, you can always pack up and head to a restaurant. If you have kids with you, make sure it’s a kid-friendly restaurant. Nothing bad about having a plan B.