Are Socially Distanced BBQs Ok?

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BBQ social distance

As the government loosens restrictions on lockdown, City Kids evaluates whether the socially distanced BBQ you have in mind is ok

From Monday, we are permitted to meet in small groups of up to six people from different households outside and, with the weather we’re having, it seems BBQs are top of the agenda. However, it’s worth noting that we are still on threat level four, which means the transmission of Covid-19 is still high. Confused? Us too! In fact, the initial Stay Alert message on the website is the same as it has been all week, and it’s probably worth a reminder:

Stay Alert

We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:

  • stay at home as much as possible
  • work from home if you can
  • limit contact with other people
  • keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • wash your hands regularly

Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

It’s understandable that after almost three months of social distancing that people are desperate for some human contact. And following the Prime Minister’s words suggesting social distance gatherings can now take place, it’s the green light that most have been waiting for. But how to manage these gatherings while still adhering to social distancing?

Perhaps the best advice we’ve seen comes from Dr Xand van Tulleken, perhaps best known for Operation Ouch series on CBBC. Speaking on the Today programme, he said:

“Everyone is going to have to make a judgement on how much risk they are prepared to accept. For someone like me, I’m certain I have had it so I would be pretty relaxed. if you are someone older, more vulnerable, more anxious then bring your own plates, there’s no hard and fast rule. The important thing to say is that there is no way of stopping this virus, only slowing it down.”

He went on to note that a socially distanced gathering for six people would require a 48 metre squared space, around one-quarter of a tennis court, beautifully sketched on Twitter.

From @xandvt on Twitter

How to have safe 6 person picnic in park/ garden:
– obtain TWELVE (!!!!) 2m x 2m blankets
– sit at the intersections
– bring your own coleslaw

How to run a safe loo for visitors: (not evidence based)
– abundant soap – cleaning spray
– disposable towels for drying hands & wiping surfaces
– egg timer (enforce 20 seconds)
– gaps of >2 mins between visitors
– sign: “wash your hands & flush w seat down”

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s The World at One, Professor Sally Bloomfield, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, advised against groups hosting BBQs at all:

‘The thing that really worries me is people are starting to say to me, oh, can I have a barbecue? That is the really dangerous thing because then we are really starting handling things backwards and forwards to each other – plates, glasses, cups and so forth.

So if you really want to have a social gathering and a meal, and the more time we spend outdoors the better, then it should be a picnic where we each bring our own food and knives and forks and plates and everything and keep them to ourselves and take them away with us. Then we can have a really nice social gathering.

But barbecues, please no, at the moment.’

If you decide against the BBQ but do want to get out of town try our suggested walks which will take you off the beaten track.

BBQ Photo by Andrik Langfield on Unsplash

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