Like in the movie ZombieLand, the streets are empty (excepting potential plague carriers), and movie theaters are long since closed. Closed, shuttered, empty — with no opening dates in sight. We still have Netflix, DVDs, Blu-Ray, and many, many streaming platforms for entertainment in Quarantine Land, for film nights to share with family and friends. But there’s a host of new norms to go with staying in and watching shows together.
What are these new movie night rules?
Co-Vid 19 Etiquette for Family & Friend Movie Nights
Family Movie Nights are still possible! With a few careful tweaks and attention to your care and the group’s safety, it can be done. We can still have popcorn and feature flicks in small groups (less than ten, please). Here are our tips:
Safety starts at the doorway
- Be careful who you invite, if you choose to allow non-household members inside your home. Make sure everyone is aware of the rules listed below, and get a verbal OK from everyone coming over so there’s no hard feelings or misunderstandings when sitting six feet apart.
- Tape over the doorbell to prevent contaminating it for the next guest. Leave a note on the door asking people to knock instead. Make it funny by saying to knock like a recognizable tune of their choice.
- Shoes come off at the door! Shoes pick up droplets too. This might be an edge case, but it’s your home and you need to keep it safe for your your family. This is a nice habit that we can all use to keep dirt out of our carpets and off the floors, even after the crisis has passed.
- No hugging. Use the CDC-approved elbow bump, or wave, or bow. Again, make it fun. 🙂
- Place hand sanitizer by the door, and squirt everyone yourself to be sure. Everyone should rub their hands, including thumbs and the backs of hands, for 20 seconds. Out of sanitzer gel or handwipes? I have recipes to make your own (no need to worry about supplies missing from shelves!). Or have a bleach dip, or set up a handwashing station by the door with real soap and water (maybe have them enter through the kitchen or garage…wherever there’s a handy sink).
- Anything coming into your home needs a thorough decontamination process. I’ll post my preferred method on that as well. Remember that plastic, metals, paper, and wood can transmit the virus from 4 hours to 4 days after exposure. Everything is suspect. Everyone is suspect. It’s awful, and it’s true.
During the meal and movie
- Seating: Members of the same household can sit together. Everyone else might be more comfortable sitting six feet apart. Move sofas, chairs, end tables, bean bags, floor pillows and whatnot appropriately for seating arrangements.
- Popcorn and treats: We can no longer have shared popcorn containers, so either give each person their own box to pop in the microwave and eat from, or carefully pour a large amount into smaller, individual bowls. The same goes for chips (buy small chip bags, or pour larger bags into personal bowls).
- Real meals: If you’re going potluck, this isn’t the time to show off your culinary skills. Best options are to bring pre-made, prepacked food items, or have everyone order something of their own from Uber Eats. Make sure the drivers drop food at the door, and let them leave before going outside. Remember: plastic bags and cardboard boxes containing food can transmit the virus, so use proper precautions to transfer edibles safely to plates. On the plus side, Uber drivers and food prep folks are now thoroughly schooled in safe precautions. Still, be wary.
- The remote control: It’s your house, and your TV. Don’t let anyone outside of the household handle the remote. Full stop. #NoGerms
- Toilet paper and bathroom niceties: If you have enough to share, put a note by the toilet asking people to use as little as possible, and to wash up with soap and water afterwards. Put out a stack of washcloths for guests to dry hands after washing (and then wash them on high heat after they leave). Hand lotion is also nice for chapped over-sanitized hands, but I’m not sure how to handle the lotion bottles being possibly contaminated from public use. If everyone is washing up conscientiously, it won’t be a problem. Parents should help children with this entire process, just to be safe.
After the movie
- Again, no hugging as your friends leave.
- Dishes and cups need to be cleaned in the dishwasher for proper decontamination. Otherwise, use your hottest water and add a little bleach to the detergent. It’s your dishes, so maybe take charge of the cleaning yourself. Alternatively, use disposables: plates, cups, utensils.
If you are the guest
Keep in mind that being six feel apart from others is the new way of sharing love. Don’t make others uncomfortable with not following common sense viral protection rules. Also, try not to touch the home-owner’s things. Think about bringing your own toilet paper, and any hand gel you might have, to share before, during, and after eating. Wash your hands with soap every chance you get. And don’t touch your face.
Be aware and be safe. This is our new normal.
Any other tips you have to share? Leave a comment below, and remember, we’re all this together (apart).
Don’t miss your favorite movie moments because you have to pee or need a snack. Use the RunPee app (Android or iPhone ) whenever you go to the movies. (We've been doing this over 10 years now.) We always have Peetimes for the latest wide release films, including OnWard, 1917, Sonic the Hedgehog, etc. You can also keep up with the latest movie news and reviews on our blog or by following us on Twitter @RunPee, and liking us on Facebook.
Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)