Service of Come on Over Sometime for Dinner or the Weekend–Just Not Soon

February 15th, 2021

Categories: Entertaining, Friends, Guests, Pandemic

I declined tempting invitations to visit friends for a weekend in the country last fall, family at Thanksgiving and Christmas and dinner at a friend’s apartment yesterday so when I saw Ronda Kaysen’s New York Times article, “When Can I Be a House Guest Again?” I stopped everything to read it hoping for a free pass.

She quoted Doctors Ashish K. Jha and Ingrid Katz of Brown University’s School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School respectively. They’d chimed in throughout the piece which ended: “So what happens if two adults are vaccinated? Can they get together without masks? Can they rent a house for the weekend? The answer to those questions, according to Dr. Jha and Dr. Katz, is a tentative yes, assuming everyone is at a low risk for severe illness and the community spread is low.”

Translation for me: I’m not packing my bags or buying a bottle of wine to bring to my friend’s place just yet even though I have an appointment to get my second vaccine.

I’m way behind others in socializing yet I’m still not ready to invite anyone inside my apartment for a glass of wine or pot luck. Not entertaining impacts what’s happening in my apartment. There’s a pile of shoes by the front door [supposedly keeping the virus off my floors but that’s not happening because inevitably after I’ve put them on to go out I realize I forgot something and walk all around the apartment to fetch it.] I used to keep a pin-perfect place should someone drop by and because I liked returning from the office to a neat home. I go out for short bits now but not long enough to require a welcome home to a perfect place.

But I digress.

What are you planning to do about weekend visits and entertaining indoors? What if your friends or family members refuse to be vaccinated? With my approach will I have a friend in the world by the time the pandemic is under control? Is your home as neat as it used to be?

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16 Responses to “Service of Come on Over Sometime for Dinner or the Weekend–Just Not Soon”

  1. Hank Goldman Said:

    Nothing is the way it used to be… Sports have no fans in the stands… It was strange to hear fan noise being pumped in to the Australian tennis open!

    We all are spending more time at home, so of course it’s going to show signs of wear and neatness begins to take a backseat to usefulness…

    Good topic, there is light somewhere at the end of the tunnel but it’s a pretty long tunnel I fear!

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    You make me feel so much better on the neatness issue. My apartment isn’t in horrible shape and sometimes it’s neater than others but….

    I will keep listening to the pundits and trust I’ll be flexible about visiting and inviting as more and more condone the practice of entertaining indoors.

  3. Helen Rabinovitz Said:

    Well…the house is only sort of presentable. Georgie my parrot and I really don’t care. I sometimes see a friend. Dining room table is six feet long exactly. I don’t greet people at the door anymore. I open it and sit down at the table. We order from our favorite place that delivers. Even the delivery person is as careful as can be and if I’m charging the order I can include the tip on my order. He puts the receipt down, steps away, I sign and he picks it up! I miss being able to hug my friends hello.
    Can’t wait to get my shots. Since most of my friends are over 65 at some point we will be able to can have closer contact!!! I hope! 🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🤞🦜🦜🦜🦜🦜

  4. RC Said:

    No, my home still has boxes unpacked from my move last year, and the “front” room remains ready to receive masked friends who have not yet been invited. I have been thinking that we need symbols to wear when we have been vaccinated once, then twice. Like East Indian jewels on the forehead.

  5. jmbyington Said:


    Not fair to speak of boxes…I have some buried in closets that I can’t face and I moved here two years ago this month.

    I like the idea of wearing symbols to ID the vaccinated. We’re given “I VOTED” stickers and rubber bracelets so maybe a bracelet that touts “I’ve had two vaccines” is in our futures?

    I wonder if friends will automatically remove their masks when they visit or if the host must announce the rules ahead–as in “I can’t allow you to smoke here.” In my apartment building smoking is forbidden –even on balconies. Being able to blame a higher authority makes it easier. But no apartment management will protect a tenant from his/her guests.

  6. Hussein Ahman-Uttah Said:

    I fear there is still leeway for people to pretend to each other that the vaccinated may still be carriers of the virus with which to infect others. Whether those who haven’t yet been vaccinated, or those too stupid to want/get the vaccine!

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:


    In our building deliveries are left in the lobby and door staff call upstairs. Tenants must retrieve their packages. But your delivery people sound well trained and respectful.

    I feel some freedom with one shot under my belt or more precisely in my arm. I took two public buses to deliver a gift to a friend on Saturday. But I am still not up to sharing a meal inside with a friend and I feel sad about that.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I don’t know what or whom to believe. Pundits will share their views and even if they are physicians, clinicians or researchers, we are discovering new things about this dastardly virus monthly. The fact we already have vaccines is a miracle but they haven’t yet been whole-hardheartedly approved by the FDA. So who is to say who among the vaccinated is and isn’t carrying or even subject to getting Covid-19. I don’t want even a “light case!”

    I had a checkup of a body part last week and the young woman who asked preliminary questions said she wasn’t yet sure about getting the vaccine. Two friends the same. One fears getting sick and the other is afraid of injections. I saw them when they refused getting a flu shot. I wonder if I’ll be equally lenient about the Covid-19 vaccine.

  9. Helen Rabinovitz Said:

    There’s no person in our small lobby. Just mail boxes and a table with a plant. I’m happy to have the delivery person come up! I like seeing humans. I’m not living in fear of the virus. I’m cautious but…oh ask Martha about Stink the parakeet. I’d rather not be judged by all the people who read your blog. I believe what I believe and after a year…so do my friends.

  10. Lucrezia Said:

    Lucrezia on Facebook: Phooey on entertainment so long as the virus remains a threat! As a chronic messy person, I’m making a project of cleaning up and throwing out, sandwiched between online activity. Keeping ones friends is not a concern, since we’re all in the same boat. Emails and phones are lifesavers, and we can be grateful we’re not living in a time when neither exist!

  11. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I continue to go about my business with awareness–not fear. I avoid crowded places and walk most places. As I wrote in a previous comment, I took two buses this weekend which makes four bus trips [and no subways] since March 2020.

  12. Jeanne Byington Said:


    My friends are less concerned than I am. Some have had weekend and dinner guests or have visited friends for the weekend so that they might not understand my refusals.

    I agree that we’d feel terribly isolated were it not for electronic devices and technology. Thank goodness for it all–and Netflix too!!

  13. Martha Takayama Said:

    I share Hank’s sentiments. My husband is working from home, and I am devastated by the invasion of the office into our home. I can’t think of inviting friends. Everyday I lament the burden of accumulated decorative objects and clothes with no place to put them. We barely go out, sometimes to the market or even using insta-cart. All deliveries go to our reception desk and we are notified to pick them up. Any interaction with friends is in the form of brief socially distanced exchanges in our lobby or outside. Occasionally we walk outside, other times in the corridor. My Brazilian niece, an epidemiologist constantly warns me that vaccinations , especially being implemented in such a disorganized and protracted fashion, do not mean we can let our guard down and socialize as before. I am sad and keep trying to reassure myself that there will be light at the end of the tunnel.

  14. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I think I’ve become a hermit. I am pleased to see people who nudge me out of my routine and am always glad to see them but also am happy to be home. I’ve lived with others most of my life and am surprised at how content I am alone. I wonder if this will change. I appreciate it for as long as it lasts.

  15. BC Said:

    After you get your second covid shot, you can relax , correct the social deprivation, and reduce the chronic anxiety you are having around the Covid. These are Normal feelings for an older person living alone. Who cares if your apt is a little messy?

  16. Jeanne Byington Said:


    As I wrote Martha in my previous comment I don’t feel deprived or sad about hanging out with myself. It’s still relatively new to me as between one thing and another I’ve lived with others or someone else all my life.

    Further, as some of my closest friends are either too young to be eligible for a vaccine or refuse to get one, I am not rushing to have them over and I still wonder about eating indoors in a restaurant or with them.

    Meanwhile, I will mark my calendar for 10 days after my second vaccine, after I get it, and drink to a bit of freedom and a lot of gratitude for the clinicians who developed the vaccine and for Duane Reade pharmacy and its wonderful staff who will inject me.

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