Can I throw a multi-person party for my child such as an outdoor birthday party?
Parties abound during summer season, and birthday parties tend to take on a more freeing direction than in winter. Currently, it is becoming more and more clear that we have eased restrictions on personal and public gatherings, despite the continuous presence of Covid-19 virus. And as we all know, Egyptians are lovers of social interaction and social gatherings, so it is crucial that we know how to stay safe while hosting parties or family get-togethers at home or in the garden.
Sarah Darwish, who lives in Alexandria, asked about the possibility of hosting a five-guest birthday party for her nine-year-old son Youssef, so let’s give her an answer…
In fact, social gatherings of up to 10 people with social distancing are allowed, but we mainly recommend that non-essential personal gatherings of any size be prevented, as we still have to strictly observe social distancing measures between guests.
And while we could technically allow a small guest list for Youssef’s birthday, it’s wise to consider the challenges of physical distancing between children and adults.
“Every parent should be careful about their child’s birthday party, and while the outdoors may be safer if we don’t touch each other a lot, this is something that is difficult to control with a group of children,” says Dr. Ishak Adel, an epidemiologist in infection control.
Most experts agree that the risk of contracting the coronavirus would be fairly low when we are outside and distance between one another. However, having people at a barbecue for example – even with adults – does carry some risks, as the more people you invite to a gathering, the higher the risks.
Ehsan Tariq, Professor Emeritus of Virology, takes a tougher stance on outdoor gatherings, warning that the mixing of five members of one family is very different from the mixing of five members of five different families, since long periods of close contact greatly increases the risk of contracting coronavirus.
Dr. Mervat Ibrahim, an epidemiologist, says, “It may happen to some people interacting with high-touch surfaces, and having buffets could be disastrous due to touching handles and tools.”
“We should use one-use serving bowls, so that people do not have to deal with and re-touch the same bowls and dishes,” Ibrahim says.
As for activities, “in festive gatherings of children we need to think of separate individual activities that separate each child or adult by at least 1-2 metres,” says Dr. Ishak.
What if my guests need to use the bathroom?
When it comes to using the bathroom, Dr. Mervat Ibrahim says, “It makes sense to allow visitors into the house, and if they do so with good hand hygiene before and after using the toilet, it will be quite safe.”
It’s also important to clean high-touch surfaces like doorknobs and faucet handles after everyone has left.
Does it matter what kind of soap is used?
The hand soap aisle in the supermarket is filled with several different brands and many of you are asking, if one should be preferred over the other.
The short answer is no, it doesn’t matter.
“Any soap can do the trick,” says Dr. Zaki Tawfik, an infectious disease specialist.
“If soap is not available, any hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol can suffice,” says Dr. Zain Hassan, an infectious disease doctor.
Lastly, remember to have fun and make precious memories with your little one on their birthday, all while staying safe, of course!