Nothing says, “It’s the Fourth of July!” like grilling on a barbeque. While COVID-19 may present new challenges to this time-honored tradition, the pandemic has not eliminated the practice of cooking meat and vegetables on a fire while we celebrate the independence of the country.
So to make sure you enjoy the Fourth of July cookout during the pandemic, consider these suggestions.1. Plan for One Supply Run
Before you can do anything else at a barbeque, you need supplies. That means charcoal, lighter fluid, and food, all of which would be readily available at the neighborhood store.
However, as many stores have implemented social distancing practices to keep their customers safe, it would be wise to plan on one trip to grab everything you need. The days of simply running back out to the grocery to get something you forgot has been temporarily suspended, as you’ll have to deal with crowds, face masks, and slow-moving checkout lines even if you just need some seasoning.
So make a complete of everything you’ll need, and try to include the less-obvious stuff like paper towels and dish soap.
2. Change Up Where You Shop
Item supply has been one of the ongoing stories during the pandemic. First it was the toilet paper rush, which was both amusing and a little scary because it was never specified what the toilet paper would be needed for. But with meat processing plants facing closings due to infection breakouts, it could be a challenge to find certain food items.
So what to do? Start shopping at other locations. Visit local butcher and meat shops; you might be surprised by what they offer and the pricing. Looking to grill some vegetables instead of a brisket? Visit the stands of local farmers. Don’t have local farmers? Find another store you don’t usually visit.
Wherever you shop for your food, try to get there on your one trip out so you don’t have to stress about going back out later. And remember to rinse and clean everything you’re going to cook prior to doing any prep work.
3. Get Together, But Safely
This is the big challenge. You want to invite people over, but concerns about social distancing makes that seem impossible. So what’s the solution?
In a word, adaptation.
If you own a house with property, set up some tents in the yard for shade and encourage guests to keep practicing social distancing, whether that means just keeping six feet apart or wearing a mask at all times.4. Respect the Fire Laws
When grilling, it’s always wise to keep fire safety devices on hand just in case. This can prove especially smart during Fourth of July parties that end with someone breaking out the bottle rockets.
However, check with the local authorities before making any plans to set off fireworks this year. Many professional firework shows have been canceled to encourage social distancing, and while the same restrictions might not apply to purchasing and using fireworks on your property, it might be discouraged due to the possibility of drawing people together to watch the show.
And if all this doesn’t work for you, you can always videoconference with friends and family while you cook. Stay safe!