This may be the first time in over a year that family and friends are gathering. If you’re hosting, don’t surprise your guests with protocols you plan to enforce.
And, if you’ve accepted an invitation, without any information regarding the host’s protocols, ask.
Here are 6 things to consider before you send out the invitation, or before the guest arrives:
1. Check county regulations. COVID-related mandates can change from week to week.
• If you have guests coming from other counties, it would be wise to inform them in advance of all protocols you will be following. This gives your guests the opportunity to consider your terms, then decide whether to accept or decline. Avoiding an awkward situation upon arrival.
• Is the county suggesting or mandating protocols? Your guests may feel they needn’t adhere to “suggestions.” Will you be enforcing them?
2. Consider everyone involved. If you are co-hosting with a partner, roommate, or family members, consider their level of anxiety. Are they ready to mingle? Or will they be passing out wipes to everyone and making hourly temperature checks?
• Do you have too many protocols? Too few?
• Will you require proof of vaccination? Or a recent COVID test result?
• Will you require face coverings? Will everyone wear one or only the unvaccinated?
• Will all of your guests be open to having their medical status disclosed?
• Does the same apply to children (age min/max)?
3. Enforcement vs recommendations. How will you enforce your protocols?
- Who will be the enforcer?
- What are the consequences for a breach? Are you willing to ask a guest to leave?
- If you have particular requirements, like wearing masks, will you be providing them for your guests?
- Is it possible that you/your family are not comfortable enough to host a gathering?
4. Guest list. Because of the strong differing of opinions regarding today’s political climate and the COVID vaccine, you may choose to reconsider the guest list.
- How will you manage heated discussions?
- Are there guests that are usually at odds on controversial topics?
- Be prepared for last-minute cancellations or guests who decide to leave early.
- Will you turn away an unexpected “plus-one”?
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5. Invitations. Tips for guests:
- If the circumstances or protocols do not suit you, decline. You are not obligated to offer an explanation, however, most people expect one. Simply thank them for the invitation and say, “It’s not going to work out.” Or, “I’m not comfortable attending a gathering yet.” And wish them well.
- If you accept but have questions or requirements, express them prior to the date.
- Do not make demands, ”If you can’t provide “X”, we aren’t coming.”
- It is a privilege to be invited into someone’s home. It is a guest’s job to add to the party, not ruin it by getting drunk or speaking in rude manner, no matter the topic of conversation. It’s not your party, so behave.
Options: Ask if you can stop by for a short time. Tell them you can get together after the holidays.
6. Host duties: Here are a few ways to help make everyone feel more comfortable: (You may solicit assistance from family/friend)
- Provide disposal hand towels. (Place a note, some people do not know what they’re for.)
- Have hand sanitizer dispensers available and visible in all high-traffic areas.
- Wipe down high traffic areas regularly. Especially the restroom.
- Buffet style table; change serving utensils; spread dishes apart; ask a few at a time to serve themselves.
Final thoughts: If you are mixing strong opinionated people in one room, consider having one or two close friends/family members, occasionally and discreetly wander near them. They can catch a heated discussion early, by distracting or even interrupting.
Imparting advice to businesses, private sessions, and the film industry. Available to hold virtual or in-person session to prepare individuals/groups for job interviews, dining out, improving communication techniques.
Film industry: Fine-tune actors’ etiquette skills for roles. Bilingual (Spanish/Mexican). Certified COVID Compliance Officer.
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