Safe Summer Socialising
Safely socialise during the summer months
Ireland has been in and out of lockdown for over a year now. But finally, the restrictions are beginning to ease, the weather’s improving, and we can hopefully have a social Summer. It’s important that we all socialise safely for ourselves, our families and our communities. Whether it’s mindful drinking tips, how to be safe in the sun, alternatives to alcohol, laws on outdoor drinking or a reminder to never drink and drive, read on for our safe socialising advice this Summer.
Mindful Drinking Tips
A great place to start is to think about the way you drink, how often and how much, and it’s important to think about why you drink. Maybe you drink to make meeting up with friends more fun, to get a buzz, or to cope with problems. Below are some tips you can use for more mindful drinking. Choose some tips that will work for you.
- Have a glass of water between each drink
- Instead of free pouring, which can lead to over pouring, use a measure – order the free measuring cup
- Downsize your drink – choose a half pint rather than a pint, and/or use smaller glasses
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
- Try some no-lo alcohol alternatives
- Make sure to eat before you drink
- See more tips to drink less.
Low-Risk Weekly Guidelines
Did you know that only 2% of Irish adults know the HSE low-risk weekly alcohol guidelines? Read the guidelines below to understand more about your drinking behaviour:
- Women: Less than 11 standard drinks (110g pure alcohol) spread out over the week, with at least two alcohol-free days
- Men: Less than 17 standard drinks (170g pure alcohol) spread out over the week, with at least two alcohol-free days.
Remember – these are guidelines, not targets! You should not save them up for one occasion (Having 6 or more standard drinks i.e. 3 pints in one sitting, is binge drinking).
Why not swap your drink for something just as refreshing, without the unwanted effects of alcohol? Whether you want to cut out alcohol altogether or just take a break for a while, make the switch and feel the benefits for yourself.
- Cocktails might seem like a fun choice on a hot day, but if you don’t know what measures of alcohol are in your drink, you could end up drinking more than you actually planned. Why not try some alcohol-free alternatives, like iced teas or alcohol-free beer? Make sure to read our Alcohol Alternatives blog for more ideas
- Instead of drinking, do something nice for yourself. Keep yourself busy with activities such as exercise, hobbies, and entertainment
- Socialising with friends doesn’t have to include alcohol, why not bring along some No-Low alternatives, or do an activity together instead?
- If you’re planning an Irish staycation this summer, why not bring along some alcohol-free drinks along with you?
- Read more about alcohol and your mental health here.
Are we allowed to drink outside?
Although drinking outdoors is not illegal, many city and county councils have byelaws that prohibit drinking outdoors.
It is against the law to drink alcohol within 100 metres of the pub or off-licence where it was sold. Make sure you keep this in mind when buying takeaway drinks.
If you are drinking in public and acting in a way that puts others’ safety at risk, the Gardaí can take your alcohol away. They can also take alcohol away if it is being drank by someone under the age of 18, or if they have reason to think they are underage.
It is also illegal to be so drunk in a public place that you could be a danger to yourself or the people around you.
From the 7th June, publicans will be permitted to serve alcohol in the outdoor area of their licenced premises. If you are asked to leave an area by the licence holder or a Garda, you must leave or you could be arrested.
Keep in in mind – outdoor drinking is not the same as drinking outdoors in a pub or restaurant.
Read more about the legalities of outdoor drinking on the Citizens Information web page
Keep our roads safe - never ever drink and drive
It’s never okay to drink and drive. Having alcohol in your system while you are on the road makes our roads less safe for all road users.
Research (2020) from the RSA has shown:
- 1 in 10 drivers admit to drink driving in last 12 months
- 1 in 4 of those who admitted to drink driving had 2 or more drinks getting behind the wheel
- 78 people killed or seriously injured in June Bank Holiday collisions since 2016.
If you’re thinking about driving and you know you’re likely to have a drink, leave the car at home and take public transport instead. You could also call a friend for a ride home that has not been drinking, or call a taxi.
It takes your body one hour to process one standard drink after you have stopped drinking (not after you have started drinking). This means if you drink 3 pints of lager which is 6 standard drinks it will take your body 6 hours to process.
Together we can prevent accidents and lives lost due to drink driving. Get the facts about drink driving and the law on our drink driving page.
Protect yourself and others from Covid-19
Covid-19 is still a highly contagious virus. Together we can do the following to stop the spread. For more information on alcohol & Covid-19, visit our Covid-19 hub
- Practice social distancing – keep your 2 metres indoors and outdoors
- Cover coughs and sneezes. If you need to sneeze indoors, do not take your mask off
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water
- If you have symptoms of Covid-19, phone your GP and stay inside your home. Do not meet friends or family
- Follow the advice on face coverings
- Follow the current Government restrictions.
Be Covid Responsible
We’re all keen to be back out socialising this summer, and it’s understandable to want to make the most of every social opportunity. But we do still need to be cautious. And this may mean resisting pressure from friends or family to meet up. It could be your granny, your co-workers, or your friends who put you under pressure, but we all have to be cautious and selective about how, when and with whom we socialise.
So here’s some suggestions on keeping you and your loved ones safe and staying within the public health guidelines:
- If you are invited to a large social gathering, do the right thing and turn it down. Big gatherings increase the chances of a wider spread
- Avoid going to crowded areas when the parks close at night. If you do have to pass through a large crowd, remember to wear your mask
- Opt for an elbow bump instead of a hug. It may feel awkward but it’s the safe and responsible thing to do!
- Wear your mask when you bump into familiar faces to chat.
Be Sun Smart
When the sun is out, we want to socialise outside. Make sure you are protecting yourself while exposed to the sun.
The only safe tan is no tan or get it from a bottle. Did you know that just one bad sunburn before a person turns 18 could increase their risk of skin cancer by 50%, and using a sun bed just once can increase the risk of melanoma by as much as 20%?
So – What is the UV index?
Ultraviolet radiation (UV) is a component of sunlight.
Non melanoma skin cancer is Ireland’s most common form of cancer, but it is also one of the most preventable. Be smart in the sun and remember the five S’s of the Sun Smart Code:
Slop on sunscreen: Choose a sunscreen that protects you against both UVA and UVB rays. Have a look out for a sunscreen that have the UVA logo inside a circle – these contain the EU recommended minimum level of UVA protection.
UV rays can pass through clouds, which can damage the genetic material in our skin cells and could cause cancer. Adults should wear at least 30+ factor SPF while children should wear factor 50+. Make sure to top up your sun cream every two hours to ensure protection. And remember: water proof does not mean water resistant!
There is no once a day sunscreen other than a tent. Salt in the sea, chlorine in the pool, towelling off or sweating will take off any sunscreen. Make sure you reapply every 2 hours or after swimming or exercising. And make sure you are applying enough.
Slip on protective clothing: If you are spending plenty of time outside this summer, make sure to wear long sleeves, hats, and other protective clothing. Young children should wear comfortable loose-fitting outfits that cover their arms and legs: Tops with long sleeves, and clothing with Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of at least 40 for children.
Slap on a wide brimmed hat: Wearing a wide brimmed hat can protect your, head, neck, ears, and face from the sun, and they never fall out of fashion!
Slide on sunglasses: Sunglasses aren’t just a fashion statement; they protect your eyes from the sun’s glares. Make sure you have sunglasses with UV protection. Choose sunglasses that meet the EN ISO 12312-1 standard (marked with the CE logo on the frame of the sunglasses) and that give as close to 100% UV-protection as possible.
Seek shade: The sun is at its peak between the hours of 11am to 3pm. It’s never a bad idea to seek shade when you can. Good shade for the baby buggy is also very important. Plan the day’s activities in advance to reduce children’s time in the sun, particularly between 11am and 3pm.
See the Marie Keating Foundation site for information on skin cancer, tips for applying sunscreen and how to avoid too much sun.
Tips while drinking alcohol in the sun:
- You might forget to top up your sunscreen if you’re busy chatting away and drinking alcohol. It’s a good idea to set an alarm on your phone as a reminder to top up
- Drink plenty of water – Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it makes the kidneys lose extra fluid. This makes us need to use the toilet more often and alcohol also makes you sweat more, which increases the risk of dehydration
- Stay a safe distance from any water while drinking alcohol. Visit Water Safety Ireland for more information
- Never swim after drinking – alcohol can lower your inhibitions, impair your judgement, numbs the senses, and it slows down your reactions. This makes swimming very difficult, which is why you should not enter the water if you are drinking.
Leave no Trace
Year after year, we always see images of heavily littered parks and streets after a day of sun. Everyone has a responsibility to clean up after themselves and protect the environment to keep Ireland looking beautiful.
- Always clean up your rubbish before leaving an area
- Bring a bin bag to the beach – it’s handy to have a roll in your bag for when you go outdoors
- Cans are lighter when there’s nothing left inside – there’s no excuse not to carry them to the nearest bin
- Do a good deed – pick up after others on your way home
- If you smoke cigarettes, make sure to dispose of the butts safely in a rubbish bin.
It’s easy to get distracted after you’ve had a few drinks. This is why you should take extra care when you use a barbecue if you are drinking this summer. Be fire wise: read more on fire safety here
- Use the barbecue on a flat surface, away from the house and trees or bushes
- Keep children and pets well away from the barbecue
- Never leave the barbecue unattended
- Use long-handled tools
- Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby for emergencies
- Only use a barbecue in areas that allow it
- Take care when getting rid of a disposable barbecue, or barbecue coals – make sure they have cooled down before you move it or dispose of it.
Make memories this summer. Stay safe and protect yourself, your family and friends by following our tips to enjoy your summer safely.