Ask Amy: Danger of COVID is not a game of Risk
Dear Amy: Recently I was alarmed to see on Facebook that a few friends had attended a huge gathering where people were not following COVID safety guidelines.
I have been meeting with friends (only outside) this summer, but as the weather cools, I am wondering if it will be safe to have a few people over for, say, a game night.
Is there any polite way to ask potential invitees if they have been in any large, unmasked groups recently?
Or should I just give up on a social life until a vaccine is available?
— Careful in Colorado
Dear Careful: It is wisest to stay up to date regarding CDC and your state and local guidelines, which frequently change.
Your question, however, is about how to ask people a very simple, common sense, and straightforward question: “Have you been to any gatherings where you or others did NOT follow COVID safety guidelines and where you might possibly have been exposed to the virus?”
Given that people — even people you are close to — might qualify lying about this as a “social” or “little white lie,” and given the quite irrational but human tendency to bend or dismiss the truth to avoid embarrassment, I don’t think you can rationally expect a truthful answer to this question from someone who violated guidelines, medical recommendations, and plain old common sense.
In short, the person foolish enough to attend such an event and not voluntarily quarantine and be tested afterward — well, that person is also more likely to lie about it later.
In my opinion, it is NOT wise to host an inside in-person game night or other gathering until you have the “all clear.” Parlor games, especially, usually involve sitting close together, touching and sharing cards or game pieces, and excited exclamations.