Most people will be very happy to see the end of 2020. The pandemic has caused hardship for many Americans and has regrettably sharply increased alcohol consumption, too.
According to a study published on Jama Network, overall alcohol consumption increased 14 percent amongst those over age 30 and 19 percent for those between 30 and 59.
Alcohol can lower inhibitions and lead to reckless behaviors. With more people drinking and the threat of the coronavirus growing, consider these factors before you decide to host a party this New Year’s Eve.
Rhode Island has the highest number of new COVID-19 infections in the country and Gov. Gina Raimondo has restricted socialization to within households. Unfortunately, frustration, boredom, and the possibility of the end of the pandemic due to a vaccine may lead some people to party on New Year’s Eve anyway.
Since this year is unlike any other, potential hosts should think very carefully before they invite guests inside their home. Visitors could potentially sue if they contract the coronavirus in your home if they can demonstrate that you didn’t take proper precautions.
Since Rhode Island issued an executive order limiting social gatherings to your household it is very possible that this could be considered reckless and intentional. Don’t be the household that sets a new legal precedent.
Social Host Laws
Besides the chance of spreading the virus, you have a legal duty to protect your guests when you host a Rhode Island party or get-together that involves alcohol.
If a guest leaves your home impaired and injures or kills someone you could find yourself caught up in a lengthy, costly lawsuit.
You may also face a fine and/or imprisonment. A first misdemeanor conviction carries a fine of between $350 and $1,000 and imprisonment of up to six months. Rhode Island does enforce these laws.
No Exceptions for Your Children
Underage drinking is not permitted in Rhode Island, even on your property. If you knowingly permit or facilitate the consumption of alcoholic beverages to underage guests in a residence under your control, you can be penalized under social host laws.
This could lead to legal and court fees, settlements, medical bills, and more. These costs can easily ruin you financially.
Small House Party
Assuming that the Governor has increased the social gathering limits, you can have a small party, providing you go about it correctly. Ask your guests to avoid contact with people outside of their households for 14 days before your event. Have them wear masks, unless they’re eating or drinking and set chairs at least 6 feet apart.
Skip the singing and shouting at midnight and opt for a countdown with some other forms of noisemakers.
Host a Small Outdoor Event
Hosting a party in a heated pop-up open air tent is a good option if you seat people with physical distancing in mind. You will need to leave one or more side walls rolled up at the bottom about 12 inches for good ventilation.
Ask guests to wear masks and provide hand sanitizer and extra masks too. Ensure they have disposal towels and plenty of soap in the bathroom.
Liability Insurance Coverage
You can’t always predict when someone will file a lawsuit. If a person decides to take you to court your homeowners insurance policy may offer you some protection. However, the limit on your policy could be as low as $100,000, which likely wouldn’t be enough.
If you haven’t done an insurance review recently, give us a call. We’ll ensure you have sufficient liability coverage, which may include an umbrella policy if the maximum limit on your policy doesn’t protect you well.