Some good news: vaccines are already available in New South Wales. The bad news is that the pandemic is still here, and cases can sprout anytime, anywhere, changing even the best-laid plans like your birthday.
You can forego it this year, but if you already missed out on one in 2020, you probably want to continue the tradition in 2021 while following safety protocols. To do that, here are a few tips that can help you with planning:
1. Find a Venue Away from the Crowd
If you’re used to celebrating your birthdays in restaurants, you need to scratch them out from your list for this year. Indoor venues are really a no-no at this time as studies suggest that the viral particles can remain suspended in the air for hours, enough time for guests eating, dining, and singing to breathe them in.
And if there’s something the world has learned from the spread of the infection in a Chinese restaurant, air-conditioning units can also circulate the same pathogen in the room.
Your best options, therefore, are places with open air and well-ventilated. When you’re on a budget, a picnic in a quiet large park is a great choice. However, since you skipped your celebration last year, perhaps you want to splurge a bit this time.
A luxurious alternative is a boat rental. You can hire a chartered or private yacht, which means it doesn’t have any other guests except yours. You can have plenty of fun while enjoying the sunset and away from the throng. You can also control the number of people who will attend, making sure they are the only ones on the guest list.
Since you’re likely to invite hundreds to your event, this gathering may fall under a non-controlled outdoor public gathering. Everyone needs to follow the minimum health guidelines that include practising good hygiene, wearing the face mask, maintaining social distancing, and encouraging guests to avoid participating if they are not feeling well.
2. Know the Size of the Venue
Based on the health protocols of New South Wales, everyone attending an event needs to follow social distancing. Each person should be capable of staying at least 1.5 metres from the others. To achieve this, the government recommends knowing the actual size of the venue.
The general rule is to assign two metres for every person in the area. Thus, if you intend to hold a party with 20 guests, your minimum space must be 40 square metres. The count doesn’t include those already on the premises because of work or people who need to be in the area because of an emergency.
This guideline doesn’t apply to events held at a residence, cinema, caravan park, camping grounds, holiday homes, and a major recreational facility. Usually, establishments or even vessels that accommodate individuals need to submit a COVID-19 safety plan. In other words, they are also responsible for keeping you and your guests safe throughout their stay.
3. Plan for the Interstate Guests
The status of the COVID-19 pandemic can differ between states and territories, so it’s not impossible for New South Wales to close its borders to interstate travellers or impose stricter rules for them.
It may be best to avoid inviting guests from other states for now, but if you insist, then know the guidelines beforehand, including the length of isolation and testing.
For example, as of June 9, 2021, New South Wales has a notice for ongoing concerns for travellers from Victoria. Those who arrive from the state may need to complete an entry declaration form and/or follow the stay-at-home rules, which means they need to stay in only one location for around 14 days. Those who may have come from an area of concern, like a closed-contact venue, may have to undergo testing besides following the other mentioned protocols.
4. Prepare a Flexible Party
Rules and protocols can change at any moment, so you need to plan a more flexible birthday party. Consider various venues, both indoors and outdoors. Prepare your list and keep in touch with your guests, as some may not be able to come at the last minute.
Know the policies of the venue. Sometimes if you need to cancel the event because of the new guidelines, they may offer options like a discount, refund, or free change of date.
Lastly, stay updated. The New South Wales website provides timely information on case locations, areas with more tests performed, and cases that involved public transport.
You can still have an amazing time on your birthday as long as you listen to the rules, follow the protocols, and be proactive in taking care of your and your guests’ well-being.