Entertaining in the time of corona

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By Claudia Pillay

Blurb: Desperate for a get-together with friends and family? You’re not alone! Isolating and staying home has been tough on everyone, but if you are planning to host a get-together once we get the go-ahead from the government, make sure that you take all the safety precautions.

The dreaded coronavirus has changed the way we do everything, from entertaining to working, and even how television shows are being filmed. Fortunately there’s plenty of exciting, fresh new content available – thanks to DStv’s new Pan-African lifestyle channel, HONEY, on channel 173.

Look out for shows like Hoot, cook, go, a cooking show with a difference. The show features three teams preparing a home-cooked meal in just one hour. But, once they hear the hooter, it’s time to get in the car and move on to the next team’s house. The best meal, as judged by the teams, takes the prize. Executive producer of the Zambian segment, Catherine Ndashe Phiri, explains how they pulled it off in the time of the coronavirus.

Phiri, the managing director of production company Media 365, says the coronavirus meant they had to get creative while filming to ensure everyone stays safe. “This was a very interesting new concept for us, and filming was a challenge. We also didn’t want to date the show, so the contestants didn’t wear masks on camera, which meant we had to be extra careful.”

The large number of people on set meant filming time was shorter to ensure everyone’s protection, but this also led to delays in production.

“We especially struggled with the transport aspect. We had to get more cars to allow for more spacing between people, and this was challenging for the camera work,” she explains. “We only had to film four episodes, but some filming happened during Zambia’s much more dangerous second wave. If someone tested positive, we all went into quarantine, which meant we again pushed shooting schedules out.”

She adds, “But entertaining can still happen, provided everyone is careful, considerate and follows protocol. Wearing masks and frequent use of hand sanitiser is essential.”

Minimize your risks while entertaining
Once current restrictions are eased up and socialising can happen, here are some tips to ensure everyone stays safe.

Take it outside
Make the most of our beautiful weather by dining al fresco! With fresh air and more space between people, the risk is reduced. Ensure you have enough room to accommodate your guests with social distancing. Guests should be at least 1.5 meters apart. Don’t forget to buy disposable masks for guests, just in case they need it.

Hello hand sanitiser
Show your care by greeting guests at the door with hand sanitiser. Go the extra mile by sanitising the bottom of their shoes or having them leave their footwear outside. Stock up on single-use napkins or serviettes for guests to dry their hands.

Dishwasher or disposable
If you have a dishwasher, put all used cutlery and crockery on the hottest and longest cycle. Alternatively, ditch the clean-up with some pretty paper plates and cups. Bamboo plates or repurposed sugarcane fibre plates are a great environmentally friendly alternative. Bonus, the sugarcane plates are water and oil resistant and microwaveable and can be recycled after use.

Hands-off
Buffets are out as guests can’t all touch the same serving spoon to serve themselves. Instead, delegate one person to do all the dishing up and ensure they stay masked up for the process.

Stay home if you are sick
If you’re showing flu-like symptoms, stay home. Yes, you don’t want to miss out, but you definitely don’t want to be a super spreader! That goes for the hosts as well. Rather cancel if you think you may have the coronavirus.

Catch Hoot, cook, go on DStv channel 173. Thursdays. WAT (16:00) CAT (17:00) EAT (18:00)