Labor Day Do’s and Don’ts during the Pandemic

Frank Esper, MD, tells us what to do, and not to do, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 during Labor Day gatherings.

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CLEVELAND – Many of us mark the unofficial end of summer with a Labor Day party.

But, this year’s celebration should look different as we try to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Frank Esper, MD, of Cleveland Clinic Children’s, said there are a few things to keep in mind if you’re hosting or attending holiday festivities.

First and foremost, gatherings should be kept small.

“Ten is, right now, what we think is the safest – there is no good number though,” he said. “Less is better. The more people that you come into contact with, the more exposure risk you have.”

Dr. Esper said older people and those with chronic health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes or lung problems are at higher risk for COVID-19 and should be extra cautious.

He adds that outdoor gatherings are best because of increased air flow.

But that doesn’t mean you should scrap social distancing – the virus can still spread over short distances outdoors, so tables and chairs should be spaced six feet apart.

And don’t forget to wear a mask if social distancing isn’t possible – even outside.

Frequent hand washing is also recommended. If soap and water aren’t available, have hand sanitizer available for guests.

And it’s best not to share utensils, snack bowls or dips.

“What we’re trying to avoid is the buffet where everybody comes together, everybody handles the food, hands in the chip bowl is what we want to avoid,” said Dr. Esper.

In order to reduce the spread of germs, Dr. Esper recommends party hosts prepare individual plates for their guests and pass them out, rather than having people help themselves.

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