The #GroupForward Guide

  • June 17, 2020
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Guide to Socially Distanced Outdoor Gatherings

Summer is here, the economy is slowly opening back up, and people are getting anxious to start living life again. Though there is a light at the end of the tunnel, CDC guidelines for social distancing are still in effect. While we may not be able to party like it’s 1999, at least for now, that doesn't mean you have to opt-out of having some fun outdoor gatherings and events with close family and friends. So get ready to party like it’s 2020 and structure your group events in a way that keeps everybody safe.  

Social Distancing Basics

A major benefit of having your group event outdoors is that open spaces provide an ideal landscape for maintaining social distance. Practicing the basics should be at the core of your gatherings:

  • Be Mindful of Your Space: When organizing your outdoor group events, make sure to be mindful of your space, and plan your attendee list accordingly. While it is true that the more open space you have the more people can attend, keeping attendance to a minimum is definitely a social distancing best practice. Take a cue from the re-opening guidelines of many states and keep your overall attendance at 50% of the maximum capacity of the area.
  • Stay 6 Feet Apart: While people may stand 6ft apart out of habit since COVID-19 struck, you can also advocate for it more by setting up your chairs and tables farther apart to promote and set reminders. Plan on using a 42” minimum space between seats, selecting table sizes that are a minimum of 60” wide, and increasing the space between table setup.
  • Practice Protection: Cloth face coverings are a fashion DO right now as they help protect you and all your party people by reducing risk. Replace the classic party hat with a fun face mask or for more formal events, consider coordinating them to your event theme. There are lots of fun and unique mask designs out there for you to choose from, like this Playbill Broadway Mask on for example. 
  • Set Up a Staggered System: Another key to attendance to consider is setting up a staggered system for attendance. With a staggered system, your guests would be attending during a specific time slot of the party or event. Not only does this allow your guests to stay in their pods or social bubbles for safety, but it also provides an easy way to have all your nearest and dearest attend without encountering someone that you love but, they don’t.

Additional Party Practices

With the basics taken care of, you’re well on your way to a safe social group gathering. There are additional party practices that you can keep in mind for your event to make for an even better socially distanced experience.

Limit Indoor Use

I know this seems self-explanatory for a guide to outdoor gatherings, but as we emerge from this pandemic it really is key to keep everyone outside. To keep your guests comfortable and covered, consider providing a covered, sheltered for your event. In the case of a sudden shower, the party tent will be your best friend.

As well, depending on how long your event is going to be, there are bound to be people who will need to go inside to use the restroom now and then. With this in mind, it would be wise to set a limit on how many people can be inside at a time. You may also want to restrict other parts of your home so that no one will accidentally go into the wrong room and risk unnecessary exposure. 

Focus on Food Safety

Many times, group events are associated with potlucks and traditional buffets. However, with social distancing, that should be avoided. Even if people are staying 6ft away from each other, they will all be touching the same things, and that would be counterproductive. So, consider alternative food and beverage options such as providing individual boxed meals for maximum hygiene and a fun picnic party feel.

Social Distancing Games

Do you want to add some entertainment to your gathering? That is perfectly fine, but try to pick games and activities that fit within the social distancing theme. Classic lawn games like horseshoes and cornhole can be set up at a safe distance. Party Bingos and Trivia can be done from your properly spaced seats. And for those looking for some more out there fun, you could try out those human inflatable bumper bubble balls. You would literally be in a social distancing bubble! 

Make Post Party Hygiene a Priority

When everyone is gone, make sure to clean and disinfect thoroughly. Wipe down tables, chairs, doorknobs, and anything that your guests came in contact with. Use gloves as well when handling these items. This is not only good practice for reducing COVID-19 but also something you might want to consider adopting for all future events to stay as healthy as possible.

Contactless Coordination

Humans need connection and socialization, even introverts. After being isolated for months and finally having more freedom to interact with others in person, go ahead and start planning that group event you have been longing for since March.

#GroupForward with GroupTools

Social Distancing isn’t just important during and after your group parties and social events. It’s also key in the pre-party stage as well. Using an online platform to plan your event keeps things safe from the start. With GroupTools you can quickly and easily put together your event details online, invite your guests, and collect RSVPs while social distancing. You can provide different time slots for staggered events with ease, survey your guests regarding their party needs, and more. Visit to learn more or jump right into your planning by registering or logging in today. 

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