How can I host a socially distant cookout from my Gainesville apartment?

It is pretty tough for social butterflies in Gainesville apartments these days. Many businesses around town are still closed, it seems like you talk to more people through Zoom than you do face-to-face, and you have to take the stairs because your apartments elevators are closed. Well, my friend, have no fear! You can still see your pals and eat some good grub while keeping a social distance and staying COVID-free!

Using Communal Areas

When I first started living on my own, my apartment community had a swimming pool area that came equipped with a grill and tables for a cookout. If your community has a similar setup, you can invite your roommates, friends, even family members (if you feel comfortable) to your poolside shindig. Just make sure you abide by the apartment management rules and Florida's crowd size laws so the fun can go on.

First, start out with the grill. After everybody has arrived, fire up some charcoal and lay some burgers, hot dogs, or even steaks on the cast iron bars. Even if your group is comfortable with not wearing masks, keep in mind that other residents walking by or using the pool area may not feel the same way. As a courtesy to others, keep your masks on and maintain at least a 6-foot distance between you and other groups.

Things to Do While Not Cooking

That said, don't let the social distancing factor take away from your gang's good time. If you are the only people by the grill, or you are a safe distance from other groups, set out some lawn chairs for your friends to sit and chill out on. If you have a decent amount of open space, do not be afraid to toss a frisbee or a football around and get active! You can do a lot of your favorite outside activities without getting too close to outsiders.

Once the food is ready, serve it up! Let your guests use their silverware to serve themselves so everybody avoids touching the same utensils. Of course, in order to eat, your people will have to remove their masks. As long as none of your guests intrude on other residents or leave their mask off afterwards, you should not run into a problem. Even Walt Disney World allows guests to eat mask-free around each other if they act responsibly and use common sense.

After everyone has gotten their grub on, it is time to clean up! If you would rather avoid doing a full load of dishes, by hand or using your Gainesville apartment's dishwasher, you may want to think ahead and prepare some paper plates and plastic utensils for a quicker and easier cleanup. You can even do this while remaining environmentally friendly; paper plates are already recyclable and telling your guests to B.Y.O.S. (Bring Your Own Silverware) reduces your cookout's waste.

You see, social distancing does not have to mean not having a good time. As long as you and your guests follow your complex's guidelines, keep a safe distance away from other groups, and keep your masks on when you're not eating, your cookout should go perfectly fine. When you're old, you can tell your grandchildren about how during the COVID-19 pandemic, you made the best of it by cooking out at your Gainesville apartment!

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