By Karli Vezina
Restrictions are easing even further as Ontario enters stage 3 and with that, comes more access to indoor settings. This includes public places but also our own homes and now that a dinner party or a backyard barbecue can happen, we need to start thinking of how to navigate the conversation around vaccination status.
Etiquette expert Julie Blais Comeau suggests the easiest way is to start by volunteering your own status information and observe how the person reacts. Hopefully they’ll engage and offer their status as well. Whether we want to discuss our shots or just gathering in general, here are some more tips from the pros.
USE YOUR WORDS
Lizzie Post, co-president of The Emily Post Institute and part of a fifth generation family etiquette business, says communication is the golden ticket. Some people are high-fiving already while others wouldn’t dare. Post says to keep in mind that “people are coming together to connect and to celebrate” and simply ask your guests what they are comfortable with.
Let guests know how many people will be there and where you plan to gather so that people can assess their own risk and decide if they are ready to participate. Hosts should also keep in mind that guests may feel tired from the social interaction sooner than they would have before. Guests may not stay long or leave early and that’s all part of readjusting too. Post says, “It's a time to be compassionate and understanding, and not to take things too personally.”
CLEAN UP AND SPREAD OUT
If your living room has become your office space, make sure to tidy up that space to make it clean and available for your guests to use comfortably. Krissy Tiglias, executive editor of Southern Living, says we’ve all been in cleaning mode for the last year but still, “a deep clean of highly trafficked areas is a good idea” before your guests arrive.
Spreading out at the dinner table may also become the new normal, so consider buying stackable or foldable chairs that could be used for mealtimes. If your eating area is small, get outside. Martha Stewart Living director Tanya Graff says, "We have become pros at doing everything outside. If you can entertain as much as possible outside, I would continue to do that."
THE KIDS MIGHT NOT BE ALRIGHT
If there will be young’uns at your gathering, remember that children under 12 have not been able to get their shot so their safety should be top of mind. Graff suggests a separate area or dinner table for the kids and keep them outside as much as possible. If your children are worried about their little ones, call ahead and ask the host what space is available and proceed from there.