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Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

A Pennsylvania Government Approved Cookout is Like Partying at Joe Mayo’s Apartment

joy mayo party face mask

It’s like the Pennsylvania Dept. of Health consulted Joe Mayo for its latest coronavirus guidance. Now, they’re talking about cookout safety.

Pennsylvania 2020 Coronavirus Cookout Safety Guidance

Instead of the fun free-for-all style cookouts you, your family, and friends are accustomed to hosting and gathering, the state-approved 2020 summer cookout is, of course coming from these people, highly regulated.

There are rules and jobs and honestly, it’s everything you’re looking to avoid … hence why you’re going to a cookout, not a shift at a diner.

Who’s this Joe Mayo everyone’s talking about?
The Reverse Peephole – Seinfeld Reference

If you’ve never seen “The Reverse Peephole” episode of Seinfeld, you may be lost here.

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As a means of housekeeping and bringing you up to speed, our Joe Mayo reference is about the Seinfeld episode called “The Reverse Peephole” and originally aired back in January 1998. (Season 9, Episode 12 … one of the last episodes!)

Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer are going to a party at Joe Mayo’s. They all chipped in and bought Joe a chair as an apartment-warming gift. Kramer doesn’t remember anything about this, even though it was his idea.

Regardless, Joe is one of those people who gives everyone at his parties a small job, like making sure no one taps on the aquarium glass, or delegating someone to be in charge of coats.

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Yeah … Joe Mayo’s that guy.

The Reverse Cookout

So, this week, through the Pennsylvania Government Twitter handle @PAGov, the state issued some safety guidance for summer cookouts.

And it’s pretty clear, they consulted Joe Mayo for some party-popping tips:

pa dept of health cookout coronavirus

The Rules of a Reverse Cookout

Here are the rules you’ll want to follow to host a proper coronavirus cookout in Pennsylvania. If you don’t, the neighbors will be talking about you for years.

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Actually, if you follow these rules, they’ll be talking about you for years.

First, the Golden Rules of a Reverse Cookout …

Wear a Mask!

joy mayo party face mask

Ask your guests to bring their own mask. If they don’t have one or “forgot” it, have a supply of masks on hand.

No Handshakes

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You know you want to shake your guests’ hands or give them a hug. Don’t do it. Imagine your guests are just covered in the virus.

Rather than the traditional, friendly greetings, just smile (from behind the mask) and wave. Won’t that be nice?

And now for the party-planning and party execution rules:

Cordon Off the Cooking Area

You’re going to want to go ahead and cordon off an area of the party space for food prep. And you’ll need to limit access to that area.

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Maybe you should think about security passes.

Designate Servers

Identify the people at your party who you don’t like too much. Ask them to be servers at your cookout. That should sever the friendship for good. Probably a good time to remind guests at a cookout to bring cash for tipping the servers.

Disinfect the Surfaces

Someone’s going to have to be on disinfectant duty. It’s going to be you. If you ask a guest at your party to go around cleaning up after you, just don’t.

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Distance Your Guests

Keep your guests socially distant from each other. If you’ve got a small yard or deck, this may keep your party pretty small. Either way, for the host, this is turning into less of a party, and more like a 1 p.m. seating at a restaurant.

Take Turns at the Feed Station

If you’ve got a main food table set up at your cookout, letting people just come and go at it is like surrendering to the virus. Better not let Governor Wolf see that happening.

Instead, call people to the food station by their table assignment. It’ll bring that large banquet atmosphere to your cookout, and isn’t that what’s really missing from your backyard festivities?

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Mark Your Sanitizing Area

The state says you should indicate your hand washing and sanitizing station at your cookout. We’re pretty sure people will figure out where the sink is located. And provided you’re offering cold drinks, there’s little risk of people ingesting hand sanitizer.

And if there are people who show up at your cookout this worried about sanitary conditions, maybe this isn’t the best setting for them anyway.

Wash Your Hands

Of course, wash your hands. You shouldn’t have to tell people to wash their hands. If you need to tell cookout guests to have clean hands, you need new guests.

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Socially Distant Over-regulated Cookout

Here’s the deal … all these tips are fine. Most are common sense.

The worst thing you can do at your cookout is be a Joe Mayo. He throws the worst parties.

Don’t go marking stations or assigning people jobs at your cookout. Let people have fun. That’s why they’re coming to your cookout, to have fun. They don’t want to help. They may say they want to help. But, they don’t. Really, don’t ask them.

Who is this Joe Mayo guy anyway?

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Are Face Masks Mandatory in Pennsylvania?


On July 1, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said Health Secretary Rachel Levine signed an order making face masks mandatory in all public places in the state.

Masks are required in Pennsylvania when you’re:

  • “Outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of 6 feet from individuals who are not members of their household.”
  • “In any indoor location where members of the public are generally permitted.”
  • “Waiting for, riding on, driving, or operating public transportation or paratransit or while in a taxi, private car service or ride-sharing vehicle.”
  • “Obtaining services from the healthcare sector in settings including, but not limited to a hospital, pharmacy, medical clinic, laboratory, physician, or dental office, veterinary clinic, or blood bank.”
  • “Engaged in work, whether at the workplace or performing work off-site, when interacting in-person with any member of the public, working in any space visited by members of the public, working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others, working in or walking through common areas, or in any room or enclosed area where other people, except for members of the person’s own household or residence, are present when unable to physically distance.”

READ MORE: Wolf Now Requires Masks in ALL Public Places

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  1. Coalregion12

    June 27, 2020 at 9:49 pm

    Years from now, people will look back at this and laugh on the stupidity. In January 2020 the US had the World’s best economy. Six months later we have unemployment not seen since the 1930s. All this for a Flu Epidemic that has a mortality rate at worst of .05. Just wear the mask though and all will be fine.

    • Canary Commenter

      June 27, 2020 at 11:02 pm

      Don’t forget, they told us not to wear a mask – DON’T EVEN LOOK FOR ONE – for more than a month at the beginning. Imagine the lives they could have saved, right?
      Been thinking of the time in the future where we’ll all look back at this time and do some real head scratching.

  2. Linda H

    June 27, 2020 at 9:49 pm

    Dang, he forgot to address handling of fire works while wearing a mask, and taking people for rides on the new 4 wheeler.
    Oh and what about potlucks? Can we bring a dish to share or not? If so should a mask be worn, at home, while prepping?
    I think we need part two. 4th of July is next weekend. OMG Where is the big bald Wolf when we need him?

    • Canary Commenter

      June 27, 2020 at 11:05 pm

      We’re on it … Right after we get back from our friend Bob Saccamano’s cookout. He’s serving hare instead of beef but the difference is negligible.

  3. Jmjtusa

    June 28, 2020 at 8:56 am

    geeshe & not one word about Ralph levine’s 90yo mom being invited & how to safely remove your Adam’s apple from the picnic display (oh, thats in the lmnopqrst fest article)

  4. Judeye

    June 28, 2020 at 6:25 pm

    Love Seinfeld. You can make every life situation and turn it into a Seinfeld episode

    • Canary Commenter

      June 28, 2020 at 7:00 pm

      Here’s hoping that means you give us permission to carry on 🙂

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