Since the mandate that gatherings of 10 people or less and weddings could happen in churches at 25% - 50% capacity everyone is on the edge of their seat planning for when celebrations that include food will be mandated allowed again in many states. And in States where food is allowed at gatherings it's touch and go on who follows guidelines. It's good to plan for the safest way to offer food at any gathering over 10 people.
As someone that has been on the other side having done catering sales for years and having my own company in hospitality now for 14 years I can tell you the key is likely going to be food safety and execution. Additionally all of this will come at a cost and will have many opening up their pocket books even more in order to celebrate life events.
What to serve and How?
First things first. If you want to have a gathering over 10 people in the future you have to think about how things will be served safely and effectively.
For cold food options there is a an array to choose from for parties and celebrations. while the repacked look isn't all that especially pleasing safety will be in the forefront for events.
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1) Recyclable plastic containers with covers for foods such as this one. The key word here is "with covers". Since the virus is transmitted in air and often the most through talking. Covered everything is very important. If you prepare anything on your own for a group bigger than your immediate family, it's very important to have a mask on during preparation. Think about what can easily be prepped with gloves on.
*Salads or cut veggies
*Dips (artichoke, ranch, seven layer)
(jello cups, cupcakes, mousse, tarts, donuts)
There are so many options for pretty and disposable party ware.
Have these items available on a table for guests to take. Similar to what you are seeing now at grocery stores and gas stations that offer pre packaged food options to customers.
If food is hot and needs to be dished, again, have the caterer or preparer wear a mask during prep and plating and pass through a partition similar to one s you see at banks and most retail stores. We found this one at staples.com but there are several places that now sell online for general public. You can also make one from acrylic at Home Depot. But the cost is the same as what it costs to just buy a prefab one. Regardless guests should not be serving themselves for safety reasons.
Additionally you could also go the route of a food truck. Food trucks generally start at $10 pp and have a minimum you need to meet. But it saves you the hassle of having to prepare and serve the food yourself.
Many of these trucks have a glass partition in their window to be able to serve food.
Hot Plated Options
If you are having a formal dinner caterers will need to cover each plate before serving to your guests. This will likely trigger many caterers to raise prices because quite often it wasn't something they offered before. Many people who had contracted caterers may start seeing additional safety fees because caterers will have to take additonal precautions to keep food covered and hot. Food covers, hot boxes ( a large warming oven that's portable) , partitions, and masks are things they will have to obtain to make sure your event goes on without creating a spread of illness.
Additional safety for events
from planning gatherings large or small, thinking about how to make safety accessible to your guests will be so key.
Renting additional hand washing stations that can be hooked up to outdoor hose and having free standing hand sanitizer stations is so easy now. we found these that are easily transported where ever you may be having a gathering.
Having masks available/ and mandatory is going to be another precaution we foresee happening. Already you can get stylish ones like these or have fun with it.
In any case having safe practices for events 10 or above will be something we should all pre plan for because as restrictions begin to loosen safety items will increase in demand.