Tips Before You Get Together

Tips Before You Get Together


  • Vermont is seeing a significant surge of new COVID-19 cases across the state.
  • The Health Department strongly advises against non-essential travel, even within Vermont. All travel to and from Vermont requires quarantine. The only exception is essential travel.
  • Starting November 14, 2020, Governor Scott’s Executive Order (link is external) prohibits gatherings with people from other households. This includes both inside and outside social gatherings, in public and private spaces. Learn more about what this means
  • If you do gather with another household, you need to quarantine for 14 days. Day 1 of your quarantine is the day after you gathered. We advise you to get tested right after the gathering and again on day 7. If you do not have symptoms and get a negative test result from the day 7 test, they can end quarantine. 

Before You go out

The type of community spread we are seeing in Vermont means there is a higher risk of getting or spreading COVID-19. Consider this increased risk when deciding to go out or make plans. Our decisions have an impact on our own health and safety, as well as our family, community, and Vermont. 

When you go out to run errands, visit a trail or something else, a quick and easy way to measure the risk is to look for these three things:

  1. Six-Foot Spaces - Are people staying at least 6 feet away from each other?
  2. Masks on Faces – Are people wearing face masks?
  3. Uncrowded Places – Is there enough space to spread out? Is it outside or is there good air flow (open windows or doors)?

Any of these will lower the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19. The more there are, the safer everyone will be!

"The COVID Talk" Conversation Tips

When we are able to see our friends and family again, we know there is a lot to discuss beforehand to feel comfortable and stay safe. Here are four tips to help have “The COVID Talk” – a conversation to negotiate boundaries and establish expectations ahead of time.  

Ask questions.

Before you get together, start with an open and honest conversation about what everyone has been doing to stay healthy and how they have been socializing. Consider everyone’s worries, boundaries and possible COVID-19 exposure risk so you can all get on the same page.

Try this:

  • Would you be up for a walk this weekend? Let’s bring our masks. 
  • Would you be comfortable coming inside if we wear masks and keep at least 6-ft apart? 
  • Is it OK if my neighbor stops by while you’re over? I can also see them after you leave.  
  • I recently got together with family/friends. We were pretty safe but weren’t able to stay six feet apart the whole time. Do you still want to get together or wait for a couple of weeks to be safe?  
  • I really want to see you, but I’m nervous because I’m high risk for getting really sick from COVID-19. Can you tell me who else you been getting together with?
Focus on what you need.

Using “I” instead of “you” statements helps people avoid feeling defensive or judged. In fact, blaming and shaming may actually increase push back and the likelihood of risk-taking behaviors. We recommend sharing what you’re comfortable with based on your own perspective instead of making demands of others.

Try this: 

  • I’d feel better if we all keep our masks on if we need to go inside. 
  • I feel more comfortable meeting up with friends outside. 
  • I’ve only been visiting places without a lot of people to keep my risk lower. 
  • I would feel safer if we brought our own food, so we don’t have to touch the same serving utensils.
Share why it is important to you.

Share what level of risk works for you and why. It might be different for others. Some people feel comfortable taking on a moderate amount of risk in their lives. Others may not feel comfortable taking on any risk. Focusing on your own reasons for staying safe can help people to better understand and get on board. 

Try this:  

  • I have asthma so I’m not taking any chances getting COVID-19. I would love to see you, but I’m only comfortable getting together outside and keeping a distance. 
  • My kids are back in school. I don’t want to do anything that could increase our risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 and shutting down the classroom. 
  • I want to do everything I can to help keep COVID-19 cases low in Vermont so businesses can stay open.  
  • can’t afford to get sick and not be able to work, I need to keep my risk low. 
  • Someone I know got COVID-19 and it was scary. That’s why I feel more comfortable with us wearing masks and keeping a distance. 
  • I’m visiting my grandparents next week and I can’t risk giving them COVID-19. Let’s wait until I come back to see each other. 
Set boundaries and stick to them!

We are all for keeping it friendly, open and non-judgmental – but that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on your safety! It’s OK to be clear and straightforward with what you need to feel safe and comfortable. It’s also okay to decline invitations or leave situations that feel too risky. You should never have to feel bad or apologize for prioritizing your safety. Lead by example by sticking to what works for you and avoiding judgment.

Try this: 

  • Thanks for the invite, but I’m going to pass this time. I not comfortable being around groups of people right now.  
  • I know you don’t want to hang out outside today and that’s OK, but I don’t feel safe getting together indoors. Let’s try again another day! 
  • Whoops! This is a little too crowded for me. I’ll come back.