Tips For Tailgating (and Safer Alternatives) During A Pandemic
Because the situation surrounding COVID-19 is constantly evolving, some information may not be up to date. Stay informed by following information from your local officials and by visiting the CDC website.
As any Texan knows, football games are the perfect opportunity for social gatherings. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, tailgating isn’t going to look normal this fall. While we all want to have fun at these social gatherings, precautions should be taken to ensure that participants stay as safe as possible. If you’ve been anxiously awaiting the start of football season, check out our tips and safer alternatives for tailgating this fall.
Tips for Tailgating During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Choose the Right Place to Gather
The risk associated with social gatherings depends on the size and location of the meeting place. Larger groups have a higher risk of spreading COVID-19 than smaller ones. There’s less risk associated with outdoor gatherings, as you can maintain more space, and germs can dissipate into the open air. Think about your boundaries and how comfortable you would feel in a big group before going out.
- Maintain Distance From People That Don’t Live in Your Household
According to Medical News Today, the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from people that are not in your household. If you feel like people are standing too close to you, don’t be afraid to speak up. It may be helpful to say something like, “I’m trying to keep everyone and myself safe. Let’s stand a little further apart.”
- Wear a Mask Around Others
If you’re planning to tailgate, make face masks mandatory. It is also important to make sure people are wearing their face coverings properly (they should cover the mouth and nose). Medical professionals also say that it is important to keep the mask on for the entire event because taking it off could contaminate it. Consider eliminating food and drinks to prevent the need to take off face coverings.
- Limit the Length of Close Interactions With People
According to the CDC, the longer someone interacts with another person, the higher the potential risk of spreading COVID-19. Set a start and end time for the tailgate to limit the time you spend around others outside of your household.
- Wash Your Hands or Use Hand Sanitizer Often
Hand hygiene is an important guideline encouraged by the CDC, as hand soap and sanitizers effectively reduce the number of pathogens that may be present on hands. The CDC outlines their recommended techniques here.
Safer Alternatives to Tailgating
- Host a Virtual Tailgate
Facebook is a great platform for socializing with people from the comfort of your home. The Groups feature allows you to create a community of friends and family. Then, the people you invite can add more friends. Facebook Groups even has a feature called “Watch Party,” which allows the group to watch a video together and react at the same time. Other platforms to consider include FaceTime, Skype, and Google Duo.
- Tailgate in a Large Parking Lot or Driveway
Instead of traveling to your school with your family and friends, try finding a large parking lot in which to gather. Practice social distancing by parking your cars a safe distance from each other, roll your windows down, and catch up from the comfort of your vehicles. Another alternative is spacing out a small group of friends in your driveway, so you’re still able to hook a TV up outside to watch the game.
If you notice any signs of illness, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Skip the tailgate, stay home, and schedule a virtual appointment with your CHI St. Joseph and Texas A&M Health Network primary care physician.