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Summer is here, and COVID-19 restrictions are easing. It is time to think about welcoming friends and family back into your home to enjoy some summer socializing, and while doing so, it is also a great time to review safety tips for entertaining at home and ways to maximize fun, safety and quality time.
Robert Ogilvy, associate manager for BCAA Home Insurance, says that in the wake of COVID-19, the best thing people can do to prepare for summer entertaining is be thoughtful about planning social distance in one’s home or property.
The provincial health authority has been providing guidance on health and safety protocols, and while the situation changes day by day, maintaining the required distance, wearing masks and providing hand sanitizer so guests know you are looking out for them, are consistent directives that must be followed.
Besides the pandemic, people are always excited about some outdoor summer visits this time of year. Luckily, there are some simple tips home occupiers can take advantage of to ensure risks in their space are minimized.
Take BBQ safety, for instance. By far the largest risk in BBQ use is—no surprise—a fire, so having a fire extinguisher nearby is essential. “There are other simple tips, like never starting the BBQ with the lid closed, always keeping the BBQ surfaces clean and making sure the BBQ is not operated under an overhang,” Ogilvy says. “It is important the BBQ always be used at a safe distance from the house.”
The number one safety matter that arises in summer entertaining is alcohol safety. Anyone hosting a party and offering alcohol to guests must ensure guests are safe when they leave, or they could be held responsible.
“If someone is intoxicated, you certainly don’t want to let them drive because if they hurt themselves or others, you could be found responsible,” Ogilvy says.
Calling a taxi or offering a ride or a sofa to sleep on are some ways to maximize alcohol safety.
Now that we are in phase 4 of the provincial restrictions and allowed to have people over and widen our circles, the best way to entertain is outside on the deck or in the backyard.
“Fewer faces in big spaces,” says Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. “Try to limit the number of people in your bubble, and remember, vigilant hand-washing and space cleaning is still important.”
“And, when it comes to liability, it is important that home occupiers do their due diligence in ensuring their spaces are safe and that risks are minimized,” Ogilvy says.
That means making sure there are no tripping hazards or slippery surfaces, keeping people at a safe distance from home improvement projects in progress, and informing guests of any potential risks, such as wobbly stairs or unsafe decks.
Although kids will be drawn to pools, trampolines, and water features, it is important to remember that adult supervision at all times is incredibly important.
“Something as simple as a net on the trampoline can help keep children safe,” Ogilvy says. “If there are parts of the yard where potential accidents can happen, keep people away or mark and cordon them off. Homeowners or renters have a duty of care to inform guests about anything that is not safe.”
“It all comes down to liability,” he adds. “It doesn’t matter if you are a homeowner or a renter; you have a responsibility to help people stay safe when they visit. That’s why the liability aspect within your home or renters insurance is so important. Not only does it help you if you are found negligent; it also can help cover legal costs incurred in your defence.”
Learn more about BCAA Home Insurance at bcaa.com/home.
The information provided in this article has been provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice or an opinion of any kind. No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the information provided in this article or other general information without first seeking appropriate professional advice. Home Insurance is sold through BCAA Insurance Agency Ltd., a licensed insurance agency, and underwritten by BCAA Insurance Corporation.