Receive your guests safely

According to government regulations, the entire population can already hold small meetings at home, for up to 10 people in municipalities that are in phase 1 and up to 15 in those that have already opened phase 2.

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However, these meetings will require certain health and safety measures to be put in place by the health authoritiesThe following is a list of the most important measures to be taken: maintain a minimum safety distance of two meters or establish alternative measures of physical protection, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.

Being able to meet is great news, now we just have to see how we can comply with these prevention measures at home. Maria Lizarraga from the IKEA interior design team explains some points to keep in mind when welcoming your guests.

PREPARATIONS

worktop cleaning with a microfiber cloth

IKEA

When organising the meeting, the first thing to consider is the space you have so that the safety distance can be maintained. This will give you an idea of the number of guests.

Then it is important to think about the format of the meeting. “If for example at the dining table you don’t have enough space to respect the safety distance, you can organize something informal using other additional spaces such as the living room or the kitchen. In this way you will avoid the concentration of individuals in the same space”, comments María Lizarraga.

Likewise, before the guests’ arrival, it is advisable to ventilate the house well and clean the most frequent contact surfaces with disinfectants approved by the Ministry of Health (1:50 dilutions of bleach or products with authorised virucidal activity): knobs, handles, handrails, switches, etc. Finally, some spaces must be adapted, mainly the hall, the bathroom and the living room or dining room so that visitors are as safe as they are pleasant.

THE ENTRANCE

white shoemaker with open shelves

IKEA

The foyer is the transition space between the outside and the rest of the home, so in the welcome we must ensure some preventive measures:

1. It is recommended that each guest is barefoot when entering the house. Therefore, it is advisable to set up an area to leave all the shoes. You can offer them disposable slippers to make them more comfortable.

    2. To avoid guests having to go through the bathroom first, you can place a hydroalcoholic disinfectant gel dispenser at the entrance.

    3. Also put a trash can for guests to throw away disposable material, such as disposable masks or latex gloves. It is preferable for the bin to have a lid and for the lid to be operated by a foot pedal so that no one has to use their hands.

    4. You can also have individual bags ready so that guests can leave their belongings safe without coming into contact with any surface (bag, jacket, etc.). It is advisable to leave mobile phones at the entrance as they are an important source of infection.

    THE BATH

    woman washing her hands

    IKEA

    In the bathroom it is important to take into account some aspects to ensure hygiene measures during the guests’ visit:

    – One of the key measures for prevention is to wash your hands frequently, and therefore we will have to make sure to put liquid or bar soap and a hand brush near the sink. If you want to include hand cream as well, I’m sure your guests will appreciate the detail.

    – A good idea might be to include the five steps for proper hand washing proposed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in a decorative painting.

    – It is important to replace traditional towels with paper hand towels. Of course, include a pedal bin or open container near the sink to dispose of used ones.

    – Don’t forget the little ones and place a step stool nearby so that everyone can access the washroom comfortably.

    THE DINING ROOM

    tableware with pink plates and beige tablecloth with dots

    IKEA

    When serving the meal it is important to bear in mind that under no circumstances should items such as cutlery, glasses or plates be sharedMaría Lizarraga proposes to use individualized kits of kitchenware with what each guest will need. In addition, so that each guest is clear about what is his or her own, a good idea could be to use a system of identification through colours, patterns, etc. You can use different tableware or, if this is not possible, you can always customize the utensils with removable stickers or markers.

    customised tableware

    IKEA

    Similarly, food should not be served in common bowls or dishesbut in individual containers, also if it is an informal pecking. To avoid contamination, it is better to prepare the food with a mask and cover the dishes.

    salad in a ceramic bowl

    IKEA

    Minimizes commonly used items such as cruets, salt shakers or wine bottlesIf this is not possible, a solution may be to put disposable napkins for each guest to use at serving time and then throw them in an open or pedal bin. For the time being, the buffet format is not possible.

    SUBJECT

    table decorated with a garland of white flowers

    IKEA

    Just because it’s a safe encounter doesn’t mean it has to be boring. These hygiene measures are perfectly compatible with a fun evening to celebrate the arrival of good weather.

    How about a picnic with spring flowers? Or a candlelit dinner? A nice touch can be to prepare a small gift for each of your guests, with this you will get them to take a souvenir of the evening, I’m sure they will love it.

    THE SALON

    living room with white sofas

    IKEA

    Maybe the room will be a meeting point for everyoneThe first thing we need to do is to get a good view of the area, either before, during or after lunch, so María Lizarraga proposes “to establish delimited areas to ensure that we all comply with the recommended distance”. In this way, each person will be limited to occupy the established space and there will be no contact between one and the other.

    green sofa next to poufs of natural fibres

    IKEA

    You can set up these areas by adding chairs, stools or pouffes around the couch to make the meeting more comfortable. Thus, in addition to ensuring safety distance, you will encourage conversation by being in opposing positions.

    Finally, you can cover the sofa with some fabric to make it easier to clean After your guests’ visit, all you have to do is remove it and wash it in the washing machine at a high temperature. When the guests leave, don’t forget to ventilate the house well and disinfect the surfaces used during the evening.

    HOW ABOUT A PICNIC?

    picnic in the country

    IKEA

    If you’re still not comfortable hosting guests at home, a good idea might be to have a picnic outside. Try to create a large space that encourages a safe distance between attendees.

    picnic lunch

    IKEA

    Just like at home, the rations have to be already servedThe system can be used to prepare individual kits with compartmentalised containers and gripper bags. “When it comes to the outside, we must not forget the lighting, this type of meeting is endless and, if we are caught up in the night, the lighting will achieve a perfect atmosphere”, remembers María Lizarraga.

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