Dear Miriam | Making Sure Summer Isn’t a Bummer


Dear Miriam,

I’m once again at a point with COVID where I’m not comfortable socializing indoors, and it’s also been literally 100 degrees outside. What are some summer options where I can still see people but also protect myself from exposures?


Overheated and Over COVID

Dear Over,

Can you believe this is the third summer of questions like this one? I honestly can’t, and yet here we are, still and again. In order to function at all right now in anything other than total isolation, you have to be able to make trade-offs, assess your priorities and assume the potential for some risk.

I’ll start with the obvious: Make sure you’re vaccinated and boosted and that the people you hang out with are, too. For smallish gatherings, like Shabbat dinner, you can ask everyone to take a rapid test at home beforehand. You can wear a mask or ask other people to do so which, of course, doesn’t work for meals but might be something to consider.

For some more creative variations, you can get together with people outdoors after dark when the heat is less intense, at a public pool, at the beach or at a restaurant or beer garden with good shade. You can bring cooling towels with you, or a spray bottle, and wear a sun hat and sunglasses and drink lots of water. Those last options won’t change the weather, but they may change your ability to deal with it.

You could consider planning more frequent but shorter get-togethers with smaller numbers of people so that you don’t need to spend three hours outdoors with a dozen people, but you can spend 30 minutes a couple of different times a week getting an iced tea or water ice with one or two people at a time. If you find yourself going more than a few days without seeing anyone, reach out by text or phone or, yes, even Zoom to make sure that you’re connecting with friends and family.

I don’t think anyone wants to go back to the days of full social distancing, but neither should we dispense without all precautions. You have to find the balance that works for you, and the friends who see eye-to-eye with you about what works for them. Socializing has always involved compromises and negotiations, and while the specific questions may be more fraught these days (or years), the process isn’t that different. The end result — getting to spend time with people you like — is also the same.

Be well,



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