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Due to a recent surge in pediatric RSV and flu, we are allowing only visitors 18 years of age and older in our general inpatient (hospital) settings at this time for the safety of our patients, in line with Illinois Department of Public Health guidance. Read More

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Gathering Tips for Memorial Day Weekend

Friday, May 22, 2020 2:16 PM

Memorial Day weekend is here! Sun, sand and barbecues are calling our name. Stay-at-home orders are loosening but questions are swirling about how we can keep safe during a weekend known for gathering with friends and family.

We asked NorthShore Infectious Disease specialist Jennifer Grant, MD to give us advice on staying safe during this three-day holiday weekend.

Memorial Day Safety

How many people can gather for an outside barbecue at home?
Spending time outside is safe but don’t let your guard down. A gathering of 10 people or less is preferred. Everyone should still practice social distancing of staying 6 feet apart from others. Frequent hand-washing is essential as is wearing a facemask when social distancing is impossible.

Are indoor parties safe?
Indoor parties should be reserved for groups who have been quarantining together, such as families, or with very close family members who also have been practicing social distancing and will continue to practice social distancing. Limit the number to 10 people or less.

What if it rains and my outdoor party becomes an indoor one?
If the gathering is just your family or very close family members who have been social distancing and will continue to social distance, it’s safe to move the party indoors. However, everyone should practice social distancing, hand-washing is essential, and facemasks should be worn if social distancing is impossible. If the gathering was not among close family members, it’s better to politely cancel the event and send everyone home.

Do you have tips for the host?

  • If possible, open windows to keep the inside of your home ventilated
  • Food sharing can be tricky. It’s best to make food items that are as individual as possible
  • Have utensils available for guests to grab their food
  • Don’t put out a big bowl of chips or anything else that guests will reach their hands into. Have guests pour chips onto their plates, for example
  • Use paper plates and throw them away afterward. Use paper towels in the bathroom instead of a shared hand towel.
  • Practice frequent hand hygiene and have hand sanitizer sitting out where guests can see it.
  • Make sure you are cleaning the surfaces throughout the day but remember that the highest risk of catching the virus is from being close to someone who has it. Social distancing is a priority!