NORTH CAROLINA – This Friday, after nearly two months of stay-at-home orders, restrictions will loosen and we'll once again be able hold gatherings, such as a backyard party. Event planners say it will take planning and forethought, but you can pull off a safe and fun backyard gathering.

Here are some ideas:

  • Think of socially-distanced games that minimize sharing equipment, such as ladder ball or using your own bags for corn hole.
  • Self-filled water balloons or water guns could be fun considering our nice spring weather.
  • When lounging, give guests who came together their own designated area to gather.
  • When it comes to food, minimize or have no contact by ordering pre-packaged meals from your local caterer or restaurant.

“People are bored of Zoom meetings, they have been wonderful, and we are in age when we can actually have that,” says Helen Edwards, owner of Spark by Design in Concord. “We want to see people physically, and of course we want to hug them, but we suggest against hugging at this point.”

Event gurus say it is possible to have a backyard gathering with friends as of this Friday, under Phase 1 of the loosening of stay-at-home orders.

“We just have to be cognizant of the food, the beverage, and the materials that you have at your party,” Edwards added. “So, we want to minimize contact.”

If you plan to do food prep of your own, Edwards says it's important to follow food safety guidelines and wear a hair net and restaurant grade gloves. Also, put everything in individual bags or containers so you're having minimal or no contact.