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The New Post-Vaccine Rules of Entertaining

by Leigh Weingus
May 17, 2021
Photo Credit: Ivan Gener

“I’m fully vaxxed, let’s make plans!” Have you texted some version of this at any point in the last few weeks? If yes, we’re right there with you. With nearly 40% of us fully vaccinated, we’re feeling cautiously optimistic about entertaining. But what does “having friends over for dinner” look like now that many of us are vaccinated or in the process of getting vaccinated? Here’s what you should keep in mind before whipping up your favorite apps

If everyone is fully vaccinated…

Good news! You should feel safe gathering indoors without masks. “The CDC says that fully vaccinated people—those at least two weeks out from their second dose of a mRNA vaccine or their sole dose of Johnson & Johnson—can gather in small groups indoors,” says Dr. Christina Rahm.  

If you want to play it extra safe, try opening the windows, wearing masks, and practicing social distancing when you’re not eating. Or keep your socializing outdoors. “Outside is still the safer option due to the fact that the vaccines are not 100 percent effective, and there are now different mutations or variants of the virus,” she explains.

Still, if this isn’t possible, don’t stress out too much. Dr. Rahm notes it’s very unlikely that you’ll contract or spread COVID-19 if you’ve been fully vaccinated.

If some are vaccinated, but others aren’t…

Dinner plans get trickier when you start mixing vaccinated and unvaccinated people. In this case, it’s especially important to prioritize outdoor gatherings, and communicate clearly about expectations.

To make sure everyone feels supported, try sending preventative instructions with your invitations that set guidelines early on,” Rahm suggests. “Let them know that you want everyone to feel comfortable, and therefore for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, hand-washing, mask-wearing (when not eating), and staying six feet apart will be enforced so everyone can enjoy their time together without feeling uncomfortable or putting themselves at risk.” 

It’s okay to say no.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is to assess your personal situation. For example, do you live with people who are especially vulnerable to the virus? Do you have kids who can’t get vaccinated yet? That might help inform decisions related to hosting or attending dinner parties. 

If all goes according to plan, the day will come when we can gather together worry (and mask!)-free. Until then, it’s important to make decisions that feel right for you. 


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