Friends and Families Moved Their Get Togethers to the Outdoors

Three young adults hanging out around bonfire with face masks on and warm clothes
Artwork by Anthony Faust
Three young adults hanging out around bonfire with face masks on and warm clothes

Throughout the pandemic, experts consistently told us that the science was clear: the risk of contracting the virus was significantly lower outdoors than indoors. If individuals wanted to socialize with friends, which some people absolutely did, shifting the gathering outside would decrease their chances of contracting COVID-19.

People were forced to find new and creative ways to socialize with friends and family while still maintaining social distance. The trend became outdoor gatherings. People would still get together, but instead of playing cards or watching the big game indoors, they would take their conversations and activities outside, around a bonfire, or spread out casually in lawn chairs in their backyards with a projector showing a movie or a sporting event.

The great outdoors became the new spot for catching up with friends. Parks and backyards were filled with people sitting on blankets, enjoying picnics, and having conversations at a safe distance. Others organized outdoor contactless games like soccer to have some physical activity and spend time together.

Outdoor gatherings were considered lower risk because of many factors. Wind could disperse viral droplets, reducing the chances of transmission. Sunlight could also kill some of the virus, further lowering the risk. Being outdoors in open spaces prevented the virus from accumulating in concentrated amounts, which could happen in indoor spaces when infected individuals exhale in a confined area for prolonged periods of time. As a result, spending time outside with others was a safer option for socializing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There was also the concept of defined social circles and keeping those circles tight. If your family was always hanging around with one other family, getting those two families together was safer because you could more easily track everyone’s day-to-day general exposures. Once people from several different households came together, the risk of someone spreading the virus went up. Public health officials warned people to keep the get togethers small and control the guest lists. This was a great reason to not invite unwanted guests over to the party.

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About the Author

My life as a husband and father transformed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sent home from work in March 2020, I've yet to return to the office. Adapting to the new pandemic world proved challenging for us all.

However, we managed to find silver linings. Drive-by birthdays brought joy to my kids' friends. I'll never forget stumbling upon a heartfelt hand-painted rock during my jog, reminding us that we're all in this together. Regular Zoom happy hours with close friends created cherished memories.

While quality time with my family was a blessing, we also faced hurdles. Assisting my youngest daughter with frustrating math homework on a poorly designed iPad app tested our patience. Both girls struggled with wearing masks during sports and school.

Sadly, witnessing COVID-19 being politicized and witnessing the closure of small businesses while the wealthy thrived was disheartening.

I wrote this book to document our experiences, learning from them and striving for better decisions in the future. Join me on this rewarding journey of resilience and growth.

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