MILLBURY, Mass. — A Massachusetts family created a plastic “hug curtain” to safely embrace their grandparents in quarantine.
Inspired by a post on social media, Karin Assad and her 18-year-old daughter, Abby, bought some plastic sheeting from Home Depot and got to work. They cut a large section of plastic for a curtain, made some holes in it for their arms and used duct tape to attach plastic sleeves. They then hung their creation from a clothesline in Karin’s parents’ backyard.
"The hardest part was putting on the sleeves," Karin Assad said. "That was a little tricky, but we managed to do it. It took about an hour and a half to make the whole thing. And you just put it up and take it down with clothespins.
"We were all excited," Karin's mother, Jeri Stead, said. "I had no idea how it would all work until I saw it hanging up there and these long sleeves hanging. And even then, I didn’t know until I got over there and tried it."
The family captured their first embraces in more than two months on video. There were a lot of laughs, but the quarantine hug turned out to be an emotional substitute for the real thing.
“It was like, ‘Oh, my! This is what it feels like!’" Ron Stead said of embracing his granddaughter. “For grandparents, it’s the worst part of being quarantined that you can’t interact with your family.”
“I think we hugged them harder than we usually do,” Jeri Stead added.
For Abby, who lives down the road from her grandparents and has spent at least a night each week with them, hugging her Mimi and Pappy was a long time coming.
"It felt so good, and it made them really happy, too, which made me happy," Abby said. "It was just really nice."
The hug curtain is such a hit that the Steads plan to sanitize it and take it on the road to Lexington where their other grandchildren live.