7 Tips to Tailgate Safely and Comfortably this NFL Season

tailgating outside for football heated vest

Football season approaches. While this is an exciting time for many NFL fans, this year is a little different. With the spread of COVID-19, there are extra precautions to take when it comes to group activities like tailgating. With the right setup, you can still tailgate this season and work to protect yourself from illness. 

Stay Warm

1. Heated Socks

heated socks with sneakers for fall

One important factor in tailgating, especially later in the season when it’s chilly, is staying warm. The best way to do this is with lots of layering and heated apparel. Heated socks are perfect for keeping your feet warm on cold days. No one likes to walk around and try to have a good time with numb feet! 

2. Heated Vests

heated vest for outdoor tailgate

Another great heated apparel option is a heated vest. Because it’s so versatile, a heated vest can be used all season long. It’s perfect for fall layering; over your favorite NFL team hoodie on mild days and underneath a heavier coat when it’s chillier.

With hours upon hours of power, a heated vest will help keep you warm so you can focus on the fun. 

Keep it Clean

3. Hand Sanitizer and Clorox Wipes

hand sanitizer clorox wipes

This is one that is a staple even without a pandemic taking place. It’s especially important now. Having proper hand-washing products on-hand is a crucial and effective way to prevent the spread of germs and viruses. 

While sanitizer is useful, soap and water is even better. One hack is to use an empty laundry detergent dispenser as a hand-washing station. Fill it up with water and place your standard hand soap with a pump next to it. This way, there’s minimal contact and everyone can have peace of mind.

Bonus: Most of us like to just set a roll of paper towels out and call it a day. However, to create minimal contact with the pandemic in mind, try hanging your paper towel from your tent’s struts roll using a bungee cord. It prevents people from using their hands to grip the entire roll in order to rip a sheet off. 

4. Finger Food is Your Friend

grilling food

Try to avoid foods that require people to serve themselves from a community dish; avoid bowls of pretzels and chips. Opt instead for the single serve packs and disposable utensils.

Classic foods like hotdogs and hamburgers are ideal because it’s usually only touched by the person who will be eating it. Be sure whoever is handling food is gloved and masked up. If there will be hamburger toppings, make sure there are sterilized tongs on hand for friends to pick and choose their toppings without having to touch any of the food.

Additionally, if alcoholic beverages are being served, try serving individually packaged jell-o shots.

Keep Your Distance 

5. Mask Up

wear a mask

Just like at the grocery store, wear a mask while tailgating. Since you’ll be near others, you’ll want everyone to do their part to protect each other. Make it fun with a mask featuring your team’s logo or colors. You can either make your own with fabric you find, check out handmade marketplaces like Etsy, look at sports and team stores, or see if your team’s official page has spirited masks in their apparel offerings. 

6. Play it Safe

ladder ball outdoor social distancing

Games like cornhole can still be played in a socially distanced way. Just make sure you’re standing a safe distance from your partner. The same goes for other popular games like ladder toss.

Among the other classic games played during tailgating events is beer pong. Typically, beverages are consumed from cups that are in close proximity to other cups and which the contaminated ball has landed in. The safest way to play with COVID-19 in mind is to fill the game cups with water, and instead drink from individual cans so that no drinks are shared.

Whichever game you play, be sure to avoid touching your face after handling the bags or balls and wash your hands thoroughly when done playing

7. Know Your Space

outdoor food picnic

Since tailgating can get crowded, limit the number of people in attendance, especially if it’s indoors. Encourage those who are feeling under the weather, have been outside the country or to another state recently, and those who may have been around a sick person to stay home. Try to avoid getting too close to other tailgaters’ tents if you’re outdoors and avoid sharing your food or supplies with anyone outside your group.

If you plan on tailgating this NFL season, make sure you’re taking precautions to protect your health and the health of others. This means staying warm, minimizing contact with foods and supplies, and socially distancing. If you are ever unsure about attending a tailgate during COVID-19, trust your gut. Otherwise, you can still have a good time and get the NFL season experience with a few minor adjustments. Have fun and be safe!

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