Planning a Memorial Day Event? Here's How, According to CDC

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Getting ready for 4th July

The Party Line

The recommendations for COVID-19 safety have been changing so frequently, it can be hard to keep up. By now, most everyone has heard the CDC’s latest guidelines regarding mask wearing: If you’re fully vaccinated, masks are no longer required in numerous situations. As of May 13, the CDC announced that those who are fully vaccinated (defined as 14 days after a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 14 days after taking the Johnson & Johnson shot) should be able to participate in many common activities without a mask. With the big summer kickoff weekend coming, this announcement couldn’t come at a better time for many people. 

So, what should you consider if you’re hosting a gathering this Memorial Day weekend? Here are some possible scenarios and the CDC-recommended ways to handle them. 

Related: Are You Vaccinated? Claim These Discounts and Freebies


Getting ready for 4th July

You’re Having a Small Party and Everyone Is Vaccinated

Great news: You’re good to go! For small, outdoor gatherings, masks are considered optional if everyone has been covered by vaccination. 

Related: 18 Ways the Pandemic Changed Our Lives

Multi-generation Family Celebrating 4th of July

You’re Having an Outdoor Party Where One Person Isn’t Vaccinated

So you’re planning to hold a small, outdoor gathering with fully vaccinated family and friends, with a caveat — one person who is low-risk is there, but isn’t vaccinated. The CDC says it is still okay to go maskless in this type of scenario.

Happy multiracial senior people cheering with red wine at dinner while wearing surgical face mask for coronavirus
Sabrina Bracher/istockphoto

You’re Attending or Throwing a Party With a Mixed Crowd

Even if it’s a small, outdoor gathering, if there are fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people mixing, you should wear a mask if you aren’t vaccinated. This goes for unvaccinated children, too.

Related: Americans' Top 10 Biggest Fears About the Coronavirus Pandemic

Business people protected from coronavirus

You’re Getting Together at a Restaurant

There are a couple scenarios here. Whether the restaurant is indoors or outdoors with friends from multiple households, the main question is, are you all vaxxed? Then feel free to go maskless (where permitted by state and local ordinances and the specific restaurant's guidelines). But if your party includes a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated, those who aren’t vaccinated should still wear a mask both in and outdoors when not eating. Safest would be for the unvaccinated to skip the indoor dining completely. 

Related: 24 Ways the Pandemic May Change Dining Out Forever

family take a selfie during the us holiday

You’re Going to a Memorial Day Parade

The CDC recommends that unvaccinated people who want to attend a crowded outdoor event, like a live performance, parade, or sports event, should wear a mask, even if they are low-risk. Again, fully vaccinated people can attend maskless.

Having friends over for a barbecue

It’s Raining, and the Party Is Moving Indoors

If you’ve been fully vaccinated, you can gather in a home or private space without a mask as long as everyone is vaccinated. If one household is attending where there are unvaccinated people who aren’t at risk for severe illness, the CDC says you may also be unmasked. Beyond that, anyone who isn’t vaccinated should be masked — or skip the indoor event if it’s a large gathering. 

Checking Flight Information. Black couple wearing masks waiting for departure in airport

You’re Traveling to a Gathering

Since traveling may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19, the CDC advises delaying travel until you are able to get fully vaccinated. But if you do decide to travel, know the rules. Most public transportation will continue to require masks while traveling. Be sure to check all travel requirements before you leave for your destination. 

Couple arranging table for dinner in backyard

If You’re Hosting, Remind Your Guests of Your Rules

Make sure your guests know where you stand on Covid. It’s recommended by the CDC that guests stay home if they are exhibiting symptoms of illness, or if they have had contact with someone Covid positive, whether the guest is vaccinated or not. As host, you should also keep track of party attendees, should the need for contact tracing arise. 

Related: Pandemic Phrases That Have Infected Our Vocabulary

Father Teaching Son To Throw Frisbee In Park

It’s Still Worth Social Distancing

When thinking of fun activities for adults and kids, the CDC recommends planning activities where social distancing can be maintained, such as a game of Frisbee; it’s also recommended to avoid close contact when greeting guests, and avoid shaking hands or hugging. Elbow bumps, waving, and enthusiastic greetings still work!  

Related: Summer of Social Distancing: 30 Photos That Capture One Strange Season

Wash Hands
Africa Studio/shutterstock

Keep Hands Clean

COVID or no COVID, clean hands at a gathering are never a bad thing. Keep soap and hand sanitizer readily available for guests (don’t forget that it should contain at least 60 percent alcohol to be effective at killing germs and viruses) and offer disposable paper towels for guests to dry their hands on instead of a towel. 


High angle image of a rustic, wooden food table

Limit How Many People Touch Food

The expression “too many cooks in the kitchen” definitely applies to the COVID-19 era. Don’t hang out with everyone in the kitchen, and keep some space around the grill. You may want to consider having one person in the role of designated server so too many people don't have to touch utensils. 

Surface cleaning home kitchen All purpose cleaner disinfectant spray bottle with towel to clean high touch surfaces from COVID-19 virus contagion