November 11, 2020

Zoom and Be Merry: A Guide To Safe Family Gatherings During A Pandemic

During this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the holidays may feel different, but there are still ways to celebrate the season safely. With properties in Tampa Bay and Hallandale Beach, Kong Vacation Homes is an expert in the Florida vacation rental market and knows what you need to get into the holiday spirit! If you’re thinking of hosting a small family gathering or creating new, virtual traditions, we have some tips for you!

If you’re planning to travel during the holidays, the first thing to do is to consider the risk. It’s important that you think about where you want to go, what the rate of infection is at your destination, and where you’ll stay. Also find out in advance what local attractions (like parks and beaches) and restaurants are open, checking to see if capacity or operations are being limited in any way.

We also recommend that you are familiar with the local COVID-19 guidelines for the city, county, and state you plan to visit, because they can vary. We also encourage you to practice social distancing, to wash your hands regularly, to sanitize your living space often (rented or not), and to avoid gathering in groups greater than ten.

When you get to your destination, you might want to skip staying in the crowded home of a relative or even in a hotel. Experts agree that private rental homes, like Kong Vacation Homes properties in Tampa Bay and Hallandale Beach, Florida, are a safer option for your family. Not only do you have the sole use of the property when you book with Kong Vacation Homes, but we also offer contactless check-in and check-out – allowing your family to minimize person-to-person interactions.

Also, Kong Vacation Homes is taking part in Airbnb’s new Enhanced Cleaning Initiative , which was developed in partnership with experts in health and hospitality. You could say that we’re making a list and checking it twice - a sanitation checklist, that is! We follow this enhanced cleaning protocol, including the use of CDC-approved disinfecting products, thoroughly sanitizing homes before and after occupancy, and keeping extra supplies on hand for you, to create a healthy living environment for your family.

But where you plan to spend the holidays isn’t the only consideration, who you’re planning to spend them with is important, too. If you’re planning to host a holiday gathering, the risk of your guests should be taken into account. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that it’s lower risk to limit the celebrating to immediate family members who live in your household. Inviting additional guests may increase risks, depending on where the gathering takes place, how many total people are invited, and where they’re coming from.

So, what can you do? First, this isn’t the year for big holiday parties. Limiting the guest list – and trying to stay within your own social bubble – is recommended.

In Florida, the late fall and early winter weather is temperate, making outdoor gatherings possible (and even enjoyable). Outdoor spaces allow for good air circulation along with more room for social distancing. Space out chairs at the dining table – or have more than one table – to keep people from sitting too close.

Avoid buffet set-ups, family-style shared plates, or punch bowls. Single-use disposable containers and utensils not only cut down on the clean-up, but they minimize spread of the virus.

Also, encourage guests to bring and wear face masks. It’s sometimes difficult for family members to keep physical distance, so these face coverings can help limit any potential COVID-19 exposure.

But, most importantly, don’t host a gathering or attend one if you are sick! If you’ve been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, that’s also reason to skip the holiday party altogether.

Likewise, if your COVID-19 risk is high, this may be a year to think about starting a new, virtual holiday tradition. Kong Vacation Homes has some ideas about how to adapt your celebration for 2020.

For foodies, a socially-distanced food exchange is a great – and safer – way to be festive. Family members or friends can prepare their favorite recipes, dropping them off at each other’s homes. Make sure to leave the dish on the porch, mailbox, or front door – and to notify the recipient immediately that the food is there!

Even if you’re not sharing physical space, you can share the holiday spirit! Zoom into the season by using video calls and online platforms. Your friends and family can trade seasonal recipes or talk about what you’re thankful for this year in a virtual hangout. You can organize an online holiday cookie baking session, with a little planning, coordination, and access to laptops or mobile devices! In fact, you can still enjoy a holiday dinner with all of your extended family and feast at the same time via a Zoom conference. Just make sure you have a strong Wi-Fi connection - by the way, all of Kong Vacation Homes offers free high-speed Wi-Fi!

Whatever you decide to do, make sure that the people you’re planning to celebrate with are on the same page. Family members might have differing opinions, and discussions can sometimes feel awkward. Being kind and considerate of everyone’s viewpoints will go far in finding a way to celebrate that works for your family.

Whether you are visiting a new place (like Tampa Bay or Hallandale Beach) or celebrating in an entirely new way, we wish you only the best this season! For more information about Kong Vacation Homes and what we’re doing to ensure that you can stay safe with us, call 866-499-9026 or email info@kongmanagementgroup.com . Let’s celebrate the holidays together!