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How are you handling hosting friends when people have different rules about masks/distancing?

Elizabeth35

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Sep 24, 2011
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DH and I are over 60 and being very cautious. We have our groceries delivered, don't go to restaurants/stores and pretty much stay home.
We have socialized with friends outdoors with 6'+ distancing, but no masks. That is in my comfort zone.

I am invited girlfriends over and we can easily be 6'+ apart outdoors on my patio. I gave the option of them bringing their own food/drinks, if they were not comfortable with my food/drink. I will have a sanitized bathroom with disposable hand towels and sanitizer available. If it rains and we move indoors we can still maintain distancing, plus I offered that we could wear masks indoors if that was their preference. I was very specific on what guidelines I could offer.

How would you respond if you extended this invitation and someone replied to all and said they would not come unless everyone wore masks on top of being 6'+ apart and outdoors?
How do you handle this?
I responded to everyone invited, asking what their expectations were. I also asked the friend who wanted masks if we were allowed to remove masks to eat or drink.

I thought I was clear on what I was offering. I respect that people have different levels of expectations. But I am befuddled by this one.
 

yennyfire

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It’s such a tough place. Everyone’s comfort level seems to be slightly different and everyone’s risk factors are unique to them. I know I’ve been in a few social situations I was uncomfortable in (sitting outdoors 6 ft apart and the skies opened up....all 8 of us ran inside and then the host said we could stay, but none of us had masks. I was uncomfortable staying, but felt awkward leaving too). I think that if the person isn’t comfortable with the very clear guidelines you’ve provided that meet your comfort level, they need to choose to stay home.
 

Demon

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Personally, I'm not visiting or hosting anyone that won't wear masks (except when eating) until this thing is under control. Even outdoors and 6 feet apart. You have to choose what's right for you in your home.
 

AGBF

Super_Ideal_Rock
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I have no guests, but I can share an anecdote about a friend.

Once a month I have scheduled phone calls with two old friends, both of whom happen to live in California. It is our way of staying in touch nowadays.

One belongs to a book club. She is a little bit older than I am and the members of her book club are, too. She lives in Marin County, California and she wears a mask when she leaves her house. She has been hosting the book club meeting on her patio and was not happy that book club members were not wearing masks. .She didn't want to confront these friends who were nice, older ladies. But her husband came out and told them they had to put on masks or leave.It struck both my friend and me as funny. I'm not sure why.
 

JPie

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Personally, I don't think it's worth the risk of hosting a party at home in the middle of a pandemic. If you must, then I think your comfort level should be the default expected of all guests, and anyone who prefers stricter standards should be informed that they're welcome to join by video conference.
 

kenny

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We listen to the CDC and WHO, so we never host anyone, ever, even immediate family, period.

We may start hosting long after a vaccine results in C19 being well under control ... no matter how long that takes.

We're doing our part to fight this thing.
To call a spade a spade, people not social isolating are not doing their part - especially if alcohol or even food is served, especially it they socialize indoors.
 
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seaurchin

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Personally, I'd probably just cancel it. There's a lot of room for slip-ups in a group setting. And if your friends are also being super careful, they might not attend anyway.
 

mellowyellowgirl

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Majority/host rules in this case.

I would send a polite message saying: Sorry I can't accommodate that but I totally understand you're not comfortable with what's on offer. Hope to see you when this is over!

Everyone's comfort level is so different I think anyone who doesn't like what's on offer should sit it out.

My bestie sat out a few gatherings until she finally thought: F this. I'm not doing this anymore.

I think it's a two way street. We were not pushy and did not try to persuade her to go. She did not try to demand this and that so she could go. She turned up for the lychee cake eventually and we teased her that the lychee made her cave.

I bring my own food at every girls gathering now! I'm a picky, difficult and fickle eater so no amount of accomodation is going to work for me. It's just unpleasant for the girls to have to deal with me so I bring my own food! Everyone is so used to it by now and there is a bit of a joke where one of them always asks me to bring extra if it's something they also want to eat.
 
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nala

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Oct 23, 2011
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What are you befuddled by, specifically? I think this is our new normal. Everyone is choosing their own normal and I think we need to respect their choices without passing judgement. We can only control our actions and how we respond to others. I posted in another thread about how differently my family and my hubby’s family are choosing to treat this pandemic. Even my closest friends can’t seem to agree on what constitutes safe behavior these days. As a result, I’m not comfortable initiating any social invitations—and avoiding the drama is one major reason.
 

Elizabeth35

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Sep 24, 2011
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What are you befuddled by, specifically? I think this is our new normal. Everyone is choosing their own normal and I think we need to respect their choices without passing judgement. We can only control our actions and how we respond to others. I posted in another thread about how differently my family and my hubby’s family are choosing to treat this pandemic. Even my closest friends can’t seem to agree on what constitutes safe behavior these days. As a result, I’m not comfortable initiating any social invitations—and avoiding the drama is one major reason.
I guess I am befuddled that my invitation was really clear on what I was offering safety wise regarding distance, outdoors, food/drink, bathroom sanitizing, etc.

Thank you for your responses. It reinforces that everyone has different guidelines. And I respect that and try to honor that.
This is the first time I am patio entertaining so I am trying to make everyone feel comfortable and safe.

I am trying to be super clear with everyone and asking what will make them feel comfortable so that expectations are clear.

I guess if I was invited to something that was, for example, indoors or without masks or distancing, I would simply decline. I would never ask the host to change the rules for everyone.

So as a host--I am struggling to make it be safe for everyone, and we are all different.

I think this will be my first and last attempt at hosting a get together with 5 lifelong friends. It's not worth people feeling unsafe.
 

Elizabeth35

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Sep 24, 2011
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523
It’s such a tough place. Everyone’s comfort level seems to be slightly different and everyone’s risk factors are unique to them. I know I’ve been in a few social situations I was uncomfortable in (sitting outdoors 6 ft apart and the skies opened up....all 8 of us ran inside and then the host said we could stay, but none of us had masks. I was uncomfortable staying, but felt awkward leaving too). I think that if the person isn’t comfortable with the very clear guidelines you’ve provided that meet your comfort level, they need to choose to stay home.
My house is large enough that the 4-5 of us could easily distance and I have heaps of masks. And we have outside umbrellas. But if they didn't feel comfortable moving indoors if it rains--I am fine if they leave.
 

chemgirl

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Sep 16, 2009
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We have been stating the rules for our home whenever we invite anyone over. That way expectations are set. Those who are comfortable with our rules come over. Those who are not just don’t.

We’re following restaurant/shopping rules when we have guests over. That means sanitize and masks only come off when seated at a safe distance. Your butt leaves the seat, the mask goes on. We stay outside unless someone needs the washroom and then they must sanitize on the way into the house. No more than 10 people (but realistically it’s only been 1-2 people at a time).

The numbers are very low here and we are all being forced out of our homes to work. The prevailing attitude is that if we’re going to be out dealing with the public we might as well see friends in a safe-ish way.

I don’t think you necessarily need to change everything to accommodate someone. Do what you’re comfortable with and let them know before they come. At this time, we’re all responsible for our own health.
 

1ofakind

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Aug 22, 2012
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We are not really having people over for any length of time. Someone came over yesterday to borrow a tool...we social distanced on the deck and they went home. Some people have been in the house but same kind of circumstances. I am not aware that CDC or WHO is stating that we may have no contact at all with anyone outside our immediate household. We don't even have a high number of cases in our area. Besides, DH and DS go to work everyday so a few people over for a few minutes at a time is less potential exposure than thatl.

If your friend is not comfortable with the conditions it is up to her to politely decline. Tell her you will miss her and look forward to seeing her post-Covid. If the rest of you still want to get together with precautions I wouldn't worry about the one who doesn't....other than to try to include her with zoom or FT. Everyone needs to be comfortable with their decisions.
 
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voce

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May 13, 2018
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My house is large enough that the 4-5 of us could easily distance and I have heaps of masks. And we have outside umbrellas. But if they didn't feel comfortable moving indoors if it rains--I am fine if they leave.
If I were hosting in an indoor setting, I would worry more about whether people wear masks properly, than the physical spacing or whether I have masks on hand for guests. It's all rather pointless if a guest does not keep the mask on, and rather than risk turning someone away due to my sensitivity and limited patience with mask wearing, I'd rather not host any indoors event.
 

missy

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It is all about risk vs reward. For each of us that is different.

I have hosted only one person at our house so far and that was outside in our backyard. Just her and me. We sat about 10 feet apart. She called beforehand asking should she bring her mask. I said yes in case she wants to go inside the house to use the restroom. We mutually decided it was OK sitting outside at 10 feet apart not wearing a mask. We felt fine with that decision. One guest and me. That was it.

We are going to have my parents over as soon as the weather cooperates but only outside and same deal. Masks to go inside to use the restroom. Social distancing outside. No exceptions. Personally I don't feel comfortable hosting inside the house nor do I feel comfortable hosting larger groups of people. That is all about my comfort level and IMO it is up to each individual what works for them. And the decision of each individual whether or not to attend your event. No one is twisting anyone's arm. No one but the individual is responsible for their own health and safety.
 

rainydaze

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I'm a little confused myself - on the one hand you say you have clearly laid out what precautions you will take. On the other hand, you say you have asked your friends what will make them comfortable - this suggests you are laying a groundwork but are willing to adjust based upon their answers regarding what will make them comfortable.

If you aren't willing to adjust the precautions you have laid out, I would not ask them what will make them comfortable. Just send out the invite with the precautions and let them know that you understand if this doesn't work for anyone and look forward to seeing them when things get better.
 

House Cat

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Feb 22, 2009
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The masks sound like a good idea. People should be able to say what they will and won’t tolerate in their lives. If you all refuse to wear masks...and I can’t understand why, then your friend can choose to stay home.
 

jordyonbass

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Everyone is really good about it and understanding I've found, even in the rural areas I've traveled to lately as they've been reasonably clear of the virus. I wear one more for their sake than my own and they're appreciative.

The only person who has made it difficult has been my father; with current stage 4 lockdowns we're not permitted to leave home for anything but work, food or emergencies. Meanwhile he has been out shopping for stuff to build his new deck, keeps popping over for social visits and says it's OK since he lives only 5 miles away.
He asked me to come help him build his new deck this weekend as well, at first I didn't know how to tell him no as I don't want to start the argument about what he thinks of the virus - but I broke my finger and had to get plastic surgery earlier this week so I couldn't help him even if there were no lockdowns! :saint:
 

AGBF

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I absolutely do not have people over socially, but people come into my house. I have a dogwalker (who wears a mask whe she comes in). The police came in to ask us about my daughter's former boyfriend who overdosed. (The one who came in put on a mask. One remained outdoors.He said they are supposed to wear them all the time.) The man from the gas company coming to check if we had blockage in our line during the outage came in. I am sure there are others. I know that even when I am not going out myself (only to the bank-drive through-, pharmacy, or grocery store) I am not completely isolated from everyone but my two family members.
 

kipari

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Even reasonable people seem to tend to push right to the very limit of any set rule / boundary in this pandemic.

I'd err on the side of caution and give out a strict mask & social distancing directive from the get -go.

I'm personally comfortable with sitting outside 6-10 ft apart, then removing the mask. In reality, people forget.

I've seen that even with my in-laws (old, co morbidity, so the rules are applied for their safety) , they tend to make me feel uncomfortable by not putting on the mask when moving, "forgetting" the mask when going to the bathroom, coming too close etc etc.

THEY insisted on coming after our total lockdown was lifted.

So I'd set out strictest rules in the beginning, expecting to cushion some lapses...
 

dk168

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Personally, if I were invited to an event, I would access the precautions taken to minimise the spread of C19, based on my own comfort level.

If I do not feel sufficiently safe about the arrangements, then I shall decline the invitation.

I would not impose on the host and demand for changes to be made to make me feel sufficiently safe in order to attend the event, as I believe that is too self-centred and being too much of a diva for my liking.

Each to their own and all that.

DK :))
 

violet3

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It's your party, so whatever you choose, is your right. But PLEASE be very clear with your friend about what others will be doing at this gathering. Even if you think you were really clear, it's apparent that your friend did not understand what you were saying, if she's indicating that she won't come if people aren't wearing masks. I would make it ABUNDANTLY clear that others won't be masked while at this party, and that while you will miss this friend, you understand if she chooses not to come.

I was invited to a party recently for a dear friend who survived a heart attack (it was the 1 year anniversary). His wife asked if we would be comfortable coming, and named the 8 people who would be there. I said "sure! I'll wear a mask and socially distance myself." Well when I got there, this was SO not the case - there were over 20 people, a ton of children, and no one was socially distancing at all. People were standing right next to each other (and me, even though I kept moving away) and one woman even hugged me before I could figure out what was going on. It was the MOST uncomfortable I've ever been (I have OCD, when it's NOT a pandemic), and I was very, very angry for about a week after.

I wouldn't have really been grateful if she said "violet, these people aren't going to follow the rules, so stay home if you feel uncomfortable." I would have 100% stayed home. Instead I had fairly severe panic levels for 14 days. I'd just be REALLY honest with what the scenario is going to look like, so she can make the most comfortable choice for herself.
 

AGBF

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I absolutely do not have people over socially, but people come into my house. I have a dogwalker (who wears a mask when she comes in). The police came in to ask us about my daughter's former boyfriend who overdosed. (The one who came in put on a mask. One remained outdoors.He said they are supposed to wear them all the time.) The man from the gas company coming to check if we had blockage in our line during the outage came in. I am sure there are others. I know that even when I am not going out myself (only to the bank-drive through-, pharmacy, or grocery store) I am not completely isolated from everyone but my two family members.
I just posted above that people come (jn)to my house. Today the man from the generator company appeared without notice to fix our generator. He was not wearing a mask. Perhaps he meant to work only outside, not give me anything to sign. I put on a mask and went out to talk to him, though. Since he is still working, he may not be as old as he looked, but he looked older than me to my eyes! Who knows what his company's rules are.

The man from the gas company started to put on a mask when he left his truck a few days ago. I think when we started to talk (remember I was wearing a towel and had a dog loose) he may not have put it on. I don't recall. Maybe he did put it on. I didn't have one on.
 

MRBXXXFVVS1

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Dec 5, 2019
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I haven't left the house or interacted with anyone in person in 5 months. The only way to guarantee no exposure is to not take any risks, but that's me and everyone's situation is different. I'm definitely struggling, but it's worth it to me. I text, call, and have video chats with friends and family. I expect to continue this for several years if needed. To me, short term happiness is not worth the long term, permanent health risks associated with COVID.
 

TooPatient

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I love that you were so clear and being so thoughtful! If I received a similar invitation and was confident the weather would be such that we would be outdoors, I would probably accept and just be sure to keep a distance between myself and others. If the weather looked like it may move indoors, I would politely decline as that would be outside what I am comfortable with. I would NEVER reply looking for you to change what you are doing. (Unless it was a serious safety gap that I thought needed pointing out which would get a private message asking if you had considered this or that.)

I have been giving this thought as I accepted an invitation for this weekend. DH and I will be going to have lunch with a friend. This will be outside at his home. He and his daughter have had very little contact with anyone since January. (His wife passed of heart issues a few weeks ago so they had been very careful to keep her safe.) It will be the two of us, him, his daughter, and one other person we know outside at all times.
 

Elizabeth35

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Sep 24, 2011
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Thanks for all your replies.
The 5 of us have agreed to---outdoors, masks AND 6'+ distancing.
We are lifelong friends and even though some of us are okay with only either distancing or masks outdoors, we want to make our friend feel safe. She has agreed that we may lower our masks to eat or drink.

This is my 4th time doing any socializing in almost 6 months, and I feel we have made it as safe as possible.
If the weather does not cooperate, those who are comfortable moving indoors (with masks and distancing) are welcome to do so.
 

seaurchin

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Nov 2, 2012
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Thanks for all your replies.
The 5 of us have agreed to---outdoors, masks AND 6'+ distancing.
We are lifelong friends and even though some of us are okay with only either distancing or masks outdoors, we want to make our friend feel safe. She has agreed that we may lower our masks to eat or drink.

This is my 4th time doing any socializing in almost 6 months, and I feel we have made it as safe as possible.
If the weather does not cooperate, those who are comfortable moving indoors (with masks and distancing) are welcome to do so.
I hope you have a nice visit. :)
 

qubitasaurus

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Are you all close friends? You could suggest that instead of meeting in person you guya can have a zoom meeting where you play charades. Or look for something more explorative online to do.

Unlike the US it was illegal for us to go to anyones house for a few months while the virus was out of control. We could not even visit a family member (parent or husband even) who we did not live with. This is what we did durring this time.
 

Elizabeth35

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Sep 24, 2011
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523
Are you all close friends? You could suggest that instead of meeting in person you guya can have a zoom meeting where you play charades. Or look for something more explorative online to do.

Unlike the US it was illegal for us to go to anyones house for a few months while the virus was out of control. We could not even visit a family member (parent or husband even) who we did not live with. This is what we did durring this time.
Thanks! We have done several months of zoom meetings.
We wanted to get together safely while the weather is nice so we can be outdoors.

In the US, this is not going away any time soon. So we are trying to find a way to socialize safely.
 
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