Tailgating is a time-honored and beloved tradition among football fans. The festive atmosphere on the grounds outside the stadium prior to kickoff compels millions of people to see their favorite team in person each football season.
The smell of barbecue and the thrill of pickup games in the parking lot is integral to fans’ game day experiences, but such get-togethers are largely forbidden during the current 2020-21 football season. Though nothing can replace the atmosphere of a stadium parking lot tailgate, fans can do their best to recreate a safe experience at home for this year’s football playoffs. ‘Homegates’ can help fill the void for seasoned tailgaters until restrictions are lifted and parking lots once again become party central on weekend afternoons.
Stay outdoors. It can be tempting to host fellow fans indoors this playoff season, but staying outside can reduce the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus and help hosts recreate an authentic tailgating atmosphere for themselves and their fellow fans. Set up a television, seating and some exterior heat lamps outside and watch the game outdoors. Let guests know the party will take place outside. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that the COVID-19 virus spreads more easily in indoor spaces than outdoor areas, so hosts who are unsure if guests can stay outdoors for the duration of the game should keep that in mind when planning the festivities. If necessary, invite only those fans who commit to staying outdoors all day.
Load up on food. Food is a big part of tailgating, so any successful homegate should feature a lot of food. Encourage guests to bring their own portable grills or outdoor fryers, as well as their own plates and eating utensils, to reduce the likelihood that guests will contact potentially contaminated surfaces. Just make sure everyone has enough elbow room to safely cook up their signature tailgate foods.
Provide a safe way for guests to use the restroom. Hosts and their guests will need to use the restroom at some point during the day. It’s the hosts’ responsibility to provide a safe place for guests to relieve themselves. Before the first guest arrives, clean the bathroom with disinfectant top to bottom, and make sure to have hand sanitizer and wipes readily available to everyone. Ask that guests waiting to use the restroom remain outside until it’s free to use.
Homegates have replaced tailgates this football season. Thankfully, football fans can embrace various safety measures to recreate the tailgating experience for themselves and their fellow fans.