How to have a Covid-Safe Party
Written By Magic Peter, Edited for Disco Steve
12th September 2020
COVID-19: Guidance for the safe use of multi-purpose community facilities: “Indoor performances to socially distanced audiences can take place, if in line with the performing arts guidance.”
Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19), Section 3.3: “Businesses and venues following COVID-19 Secure guidelines can host larger [than six] groups.”
What does this mean?
The Rule of Six is far from simple, and as shown above, there are clear exemptions. I’m sure politicians and their advisers imagine a children’s party to be barely controlled chaos – hoards of children running rings around the parents, dozens packed onto a bouncy castle and having wrestling matches on the floor. If you’ve been to enough children’s parties, you’ll have been to some like this. And no, parties like this would not be safe – even before the pandemic!
But, if you’ve been to a Disco Steve party, you’ll know that’s not the way my parties run. They are much more like a theatrical or variety performance, with the children (and parents) sitting, enjoying, and taking part in the show. As such, social distancing can be set, managed and maintained. You can hold a safe children’s party, even today.
Maximising safety at your party
1. Find a Covid-Secure Venue
The "Rule of Six" is only exempt in a Covid-secure venue, or in an outdoor area - and with autumn drawing closer, I think we'd all rather be inside.
I’ve contacted many of the venues in my area and I have a list of party venues that are Covid-safe and open for party bookings, so if you book me for your celebration I can advise you of the venues in your area where you can hold the party.
When you go to book your venue, you’ll be presented with a set of rules or procedures that you’ll need to follow which make it a Covid-safe venue. They’ll include having a list of attendees, hand-washing and/or sanitising, social distancing, and cleaning. All are there to protect you and your guests – and the entertainer, if you’ve booked one.
2. Keep a List of Attendees
This bit is pretty simple for a children's party. You’ll have a guest list and you’ll have their contact details – that’s how you were able to invite them. Take the list to the party and make a note of the names of those who attend- ‘Jack and mum; Michelle and dad; the Jones twins and mum and dad’, for example. You’ll need a note of everyone, even those who either drop off or pick up their children but don’t stay for the party. (I would suggest you encourage as many parents as possible to stay to supervise their children – far less hassle for you.) In the unlikely circumstances someone tests positive for Covid after the party – and it may have absolutely nothing to do with your event – you can pass your list to the Track and Trace people to contact all those who were at the party.
(You need to keep your list of attendees for 21 days – don’t throw it away with the discarded birthday wrapping paper.)
3. Organise Social Distancing and Hygiene Standards
Have hand-sanitiser inside the entrance so that everyone sanitises their hands when they enter – you don’t want them bringing any germs into the party from outside – and, if you’re providing food, make sure everyone sanitises their hands before they eat. A good entertainer will do that for you anyway.
Arrange floormats or tables and chairs in a ‘cabaret’ arrangement (see below), with the tables at least two metres apart for people to sit at in groups of no more than six. (This is where the Rule of Six does apply!) Have enough tables for the number of households you’ve invited. If you’re serving food, I would recommend tables and chairs – then the food (which you should serve in individual snack boxes) can be delivered to the children to eat at the tables.
The entertainer – whoever it is, but hopefully it will be Disco Steve (or Magic Peter if you live in or around Oxford) – will have arrived before your guests and will have set up a stage area at least two metres from the nearest table. He will maintain that distance throughout his show and he won’t be able to invite children up to help, but they will all join in from their seats, saying the special magic words and making the magic happen, just as always.
Then, when the show is over, everyone will leave in a socially distanced manner and you can go home to open the presents.
One word of warning: don’t bake a large birthday cake. Have individual cupcakes, including a special one with a candle for the birthday child to blow out.
4. Get a Covid-Secure Entertainer
As a professional performer, I’ve conducted the risk assessment necessary to make Disco Steve a Covid-secure business. I will also be undergoing Covid-testing in the run-up to parties, and will make the necessary arrangements to get you another entertainer if I were to fall ill. I’ve always said that hiring a professional entertainer gives you more than just a great party, it also gives you peace of mind. That’s more important today than it’s ever been.
I hope I’ve shown that the Rule of Six does apply to children’s parties, but so long as you socially distance your families into groups of six, there is no reason why you can’t celebrate you child’s birthday with a great party and a fantastic magic show - secure in the knowledge that your chosen venue is a safe environment for your friends and family.
There’s no doubt that putting on a successful children’s party is more difficult now than ever before, so hiring a professional to take away some of the stress may be just what you’re looking for. I hope I see you at one of my Covid-secure birthday parties very soon.
Until then, stay safe.
Cabaret Seating Plan