The COVID-19 pandemic has made tailgating difficult but there are social distancing measures you can put in place.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted lives all over the world very quickly and dramatically. Amidst the rising uncertainty about the pandemic, people have had to stall their plans for long holidays, family gatherings, and other important events, including sports.

Sports won’t be the same this year even as games resume at all levels, and for sports fans, that means finding ways to enjoy and make the most of the new normal.

Here’s the thing – going to the stadium to watch your favorite teams play might be a distant dream this year. But that doesn’t mean you can’t gather with a small group of your closest friends and family to enjoy the games.

While a traditional tailgate party won’t be practical, you can still work your way around with socially distanced alternatives. All you have to do is outline a plan in advance and ensure that you adhere to all the safety protocols.

Wondering how you can host a tailgate party amidst the ongoing pandemic? Here are a few tips to help you throw an awesome socially distanced tailgate:

1. Check the Guidelines

Before you consider hosting a tailgate, first be sure to check out the latest CDC guidelines about public gatherings.

You should also look into the state and local laws and safety mandates pertaining to your location. Knowing these rules will help you determine the best social distancing protocols for hosting your gathering. This, in turn, will ensure that you have an enjoyable and safe tailgate.

2. Find the Right Venue

Any socially distanced public gathering will require a spacious venue. This is all the more crucial when you’re hosting a tailgate. Take a look at easily accessible open spaces, including parking lots, parks, backyard, etc.

Make sure the venue is big enough to accommodate all your guests while maintaining social distancing mandates. Once you’ve identified a great location, don’t forget to obtain prior permission from the owners/authorities if prior authorization has not already been given.

3. Finalize Your Guest List

The spontaneity and informal ambiance of a tailgate party distinguish it from other parties. However, if you want to maintain social distancing, you’ll need to create an optimal seating/car spacing plan in advance.

That’s why it is crucial to prepare a list of invitees and adhere to it. Make sure you check with all the invitees before the party to find out if they’re coming, and wiling to adhere to safety precautions and guidelines.

4. Consider a Drive-In Party

The most effective way to host a socially distanced tailgate is to convert it into a drive-in gathering, which can also make it one of the best and most fun ways of using your car during the pandemic.

The key to a successful drive-in party is preparing a car spacing arrangement to ensure that all guests are able to maintain a safe distance from each other.

Depending on the local laws, you can even allow people to get out of their cars and lounge in the open air. You can ask guests to bring their own lawn chairs or mats. However, make sure that you maintain a distance of at least 6 feet between any two adjacent cars.

5. Set Up an LED Screen

Make your tailgate memorable by installing a mobile LED screen and high-quality loudspeakers at your tailgate (if permitted).

As an alternative to loudspeakers, you can have your guests tune in from their car radios. To ensure a seamless tailgate when incorporating audio visuals, test the setup and sound/ visual quality prior to your guests arrival.

Most LED screens are equipped with built-in connections to make live transmission a non-issue. After the game is over, you can use your media player or wifi hotspot to screen old Hollywood classics, or the latest releases.

If you’re planning to install a screen, optimize the car spacing arrangement so that every guest has a comfortable viewing experience.

6. Outline & Implement Safety Procedures

Are your guests supposed to wear their masks at all times, even inside their cars? What’s the protocol for getting outside one’s car and interacting with others?

Are you willing to allow guests to share food? What are the provisions for other amenities such as restrooms?

It’s essential to prepare a list of dos and don’ts and make sure that your guests adhere to the rules.

Be sure to review safety protocols with your guests before and after they arrive at the party’s location. If you’ve installed an LED screen, you can even use it to regularly display safety information and reminders.

It’s also recommended that you provide sanitary stations and/ or hand out personal sanitizer, anti-bacterial wipes, and face coverings. Don’t forget to keep a first-aid kit handy, just in case.

7. Bring Your Own Food & Beverages

Food is an integral part of traditional tailgates. Nothing beats the joy of devouring a freshly grilled burger that is accompanied by your favorite gameday beverage.

In light of the pandemic, the best option is to ask your guests to bring their own food and/or picnic baskets. It’s also recommended that you don’t encourage the sharing of food among guests.

If you still intend to serve snacks at the venue, make sure you adhere to all food preparation and sanitization protocols.

Ideally, you should cook at home and bring the food in neatly packed, individual containers. Instead of asking guests to gather in a queue, we recommend individually serving them.

8. Make it Fun

Just because you’re organizing a socially distanced tailgate doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it. Spice things up with a unique theme, interesting décor, or signage, and be sure to incorporate your team’s colors into various decor elements.

In addition, you can even plan fun games such as Bingo, cornhole, gameday trivia, etc. during and/ or after the game is over.


Organizing a fun-filled tailgate amidst a pandemic comes with various challenges. However, if you plan your event in advance, you can host a delightful, socially distanced, and safe gathering.