By Heather Fraley
RMEF has rescheduled or canceled all events through May 10th in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Things change by the day, so the RMEF will have to continue to make adjustments to keep our volunteers and attendees’ safety a priority.
When we do start hosting banquets again, it will be important to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, which will linger even after the peak number of cases hit. Here are some suggestions for precautions to take.
Encourage attendees to refrain from shaking hands or hugging friends and acquaintances as they normally would. Instead, encourage them to verbally express their happiness to see others.
Try setting your banquet tables six feet apart, and maintain six feet of distance between people whenever practicable—this might not be easy at a large event, but the virus spreads from respiratory droplets passing from person to person when coughing, sneezing or talking. If attendees can keep this distance as often as possible, it can help reduce the spread.
Request in your banquet invitation that people wear cloth face coverings to help prevent passing the virus to other people. You could encourage attendees to get into the RMEF spirit by using RMEF bandanas as face coverings. Remember that some people without symptoms can likely still spread the virus.
Pass out pens to everyone who comes through the door, to avoid sharing writing utensils.
Keep sanitizing wipes and bottles of hand sanitizer that contain at least 60 percent alcohol at games and raffles and each banquet table. Suggest that individuals use them before and after playing banquet games.
Keep plenty of disinfectant solution on hand. Make sure the solution is among the CDC-approved disinfecting agents found here. Appoint a team to clean heavily used surfaces every hour.
There are different colors of disposable gloves! Who knows, hey may even have RMEF blue. Request that anyone handling food, plates or cutlery wear gloves and a cloth face covering.
Post laminated signs on restroom doors and mirrors reminding people of appropriate times to wash hands and correct handwashing procedures found here.
Set up a way to make a donation or otherwise participate remotely. Encourage anyone especially vulnerable to illness, such as older people, people with underlying medical conditions or immunocompromised individuals, to stay at home and support the cause from afar if they choose.
These precautions are suggestions based on the CDC guidelines for helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 found here. While we know they can be awkward and impractical at a banquet, inconvenience is well worth the safety of volunteers and attendees. We want to make sure safety is our first priority as we all work together to overcome this adversity and continue to support each other and support RMEF’s mission.