Originally wrote this as a note to friends.
Hanging out in person can be awkward during Covid. Since you're coming over, wanted to share:
- Our our beliefs about Covid
- How we act based on those beliefs
- What to expect at our house
We're sharing this is to start a conversation – not to lay out ground rules. We've found it's best not to assume that everyone's on the same page. Let's talk about this stuff up front so that we can get past the Covid induced awkwardness and better enjoy each other's company.
What we believe about Covid-19
It's really bad. It probably won't kill us, but if we catch it, there's a non-trivial chance we'd get sicker than we've ever been, suffer longterm damage, or pass it on to someone else. Also, Rachel is pregnant (37 weeks as of Nov 12). This would be an inconvenient time for one of us to catch Covid.
Coronavirus spreads primarily indoors. So long as no one's sneezing or coughing, we'd need at least 10 minutes in a small, poorly ventilated room with an unmasked carrier to catch the virus.
The risk of surface transmission is low. Despite all the package disinfecting we did back in March and April, there are no documented cases of surface transmission.
The risk of outdoor transmission is low. Neither protests nor outdoor dining have caused a noticeable uptick in outbreaks. Open air seriously impedes transmission. Sunlight is coronavirus kryptonite.
It's unlikely that you, or we, currently have it. That said, New York cases are on the rise, with NYC currently running a 2.5% positive test rate, and climbing.
How we act
Here's what we do, and don't do, based on our beliefs about Covid:
- If we had a cough, sore throat, or fever, we wouldn't hang out with you.
- We avoid lingering indoors with other people when we can.
- We go into stores when we need to, but we don't linger, and we leave if it's crowded or if people are unmasked.
- When inside in public, we wear masks. My mask protects you, your mask protects me.
- When outside in public and near others, we wear masks. But more for social normalization than for fear of transmission.
- We order takeout often. We occasionally do outdoor dining.
- We don't wipe down packages or groceries (anymore).
- We're homeschooling Emma this year.
What to expect at our place
We're have an outdoor space where kids can play in the yard while adults hang on the patio.
We'll avoid lingering inside. We'll wear a mask when we greet you at the front door, and when we walk you through the house to the patio. Fist bumps and elbow bumps seem like good greetings these days. Please wear a mask as you move through the house and avoid lingering indoors.
We won't wear masks out back. We're generally unconcerned about outdoor transmission. Let's keep some distance – for example, we don't need to sit four to the couch – but so long as we're not breathing into each other's faces, we should be okay. We'll also have an industrial-strength fan to improve airflow.
We're comfortable sharing a meal. No need to offer to help with meal prep or dishes – we know you would in normal times. No need to bring anything, but we do enjoy pastries.
Downstairs bathroom is for you. Y'all can use the one next to the kitchen. Our family will use the one upstairs. Please wear a mask while inside.
Kiddos generally don't wear masks outside. We typically don't require kiddos to wear a mask when playing outside unless they're spending a lot of time in her clubhouse. Kids are at low risk, being outside is low risk. That said, we're cool playing this by ear with you.
Kiddos do wear masks inside. On occasion, kiddos find a reason to go inside together to show off a room, get a toy, whatever. In those cases, we'd prefer that they're masked, and that they only stay inside for a few minutes.
Come on over!
Very much looking forward to the day when we don't have to have awkward conversations before hanging out, but we've found that it's easier to get this stuff out in the open than to just assume everyone's on the same page.
Not on the same page? Cool! Let's talk about it. There aren't a lot of black-and-white answers here. Guidelines are helpful, but what feels comfortable one week might not feel right the next. If your spidey sense goes off, it's cool to say, "I'm uncomfortable with ___. Could we ___ instead?" We'd rather talk about it, and then be able to enjoy each other's company without things unsaid causing low-grade anxiety.
With all that said — We're so thankful that you're coming over! It's such a luxury to spend face-to-face time with friends.
See you soon!