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Drinking and COVID and the Great Outdoors

Welcome to the Height of Summer. July 4th Weekend. An event that, I think, cracks the Top 5 on the drinking calendar:

1. Thanksgiving Eve
2. New Years Eve
3. St. Patrick's Day
4. Memorial Day
5. Fourth of July
6. One's Birthday
7. Halloween
8. Labor Day
9. Super Bowl Sunday
10. Mardi Gras

People can dispute that list. I, for one, don't drink much on St. Patrick's Day, Super Bowl Sunday, Mardi Gras, or Halloween, but I know they're huge in some people's drinking calendar, so I included them in that top ten list.

Me? I'm drinking this weekend. I actually started last night while wrapping up at the office, around 6:30.

It's been a COVID brutal week and I hadn't sipped alcohol for nine days. I needed a drink.

We came back from vacation last weekend to find my town in COVID disarray. A slew of high profile people I know had come down with COVID; a local physician's assistant died from it; a local medical office was supposedly administering COVID tests without protective gear (that last one, I have a hard time believing). The town was running scared. Everyone was muttering "F'ing epicenter."

And my son's large indoor Mexican wedding reception loomed two weeks away, with guests dropping off like flies.

So we regrouped Tuesday night and decided we had to think outside the box.

Outside the box? We went outside altogether. And moved it to our house, in our backyard. Google searches reveal things like "COVID is an indoor phenomenon"; in one study of 318 infection clusters, only one jumped among people indoors; exercising outside reduces chance of infection by a magnitude of ten; you're 19 times more likely to catch COVID indoors than out. On top of that, the podcasts are abuzz with claims that UV light kills COVID.

So, it looks like outside gatherings are pretty safe. Not entirely safe, but pretty safe.

Sooooooo, I relented. Although it's not my wedding and not my call, I said the kids could use my backyard. And they've put in place a lot of safeguards: no dinner outside of immediate family and the wedding party; individually-wrapped snacks; each guest provided with a "party favor" COVID disinfectant spray bottle; encourage a second "gathering" space away from the main area where people can stay away from the less social distancing group; reduced numbers in hope of keeping 100 or fewer people in each area.

And our unequivocal blessing to those who still don't feel comfortable attending.

It's going to be a long next eight days.

I'm glad this weekend is Number 5 on the calendar drinking list.