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Happy Holidays: Guidelines for Safe, Fun Festivities

Happy Holidays: Guidelines for Safe, Fun Festivities

This holiday season, spread cheer, not COVID-19 or the flu. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says the safest way to celebrate winter holidays is at home with people who live with you.

These activities can increase your chances of getting or spreading COVID-19:

  • Traveling to areas with a high number of reported COVID-19 cases.
  • Gathering with family and friends who are from outside of your household.
  • Traveling by bus, train, or plane, where staying 6 feet away from others may be difficult.

If you do decide to travel, these simple actions can help keep you, loved ones, and our community safe through this holiday season.

  • Wear a mask. Make sure it covers your nose and mouth, secures under your chin, and fits snugly against the sides of your face.
  • Wash your hands. Do it often when in public spaces. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Watch your distance. Stay at least six feet apart from anyone who does not live with you.
  • Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Check travel restrictions before you go.

Traditionally, a family get together is the highlight of the winter holiday season. This year, that may look a little different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While gatherings with those outside of your household are discouraged, there are several things you can do to make small groups safer.

  • Avoid small, poorly-ventilated spaces that do not offer fresh air from the outdoors. If indoors, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors, if possible.
  • Have conversations with the host (or with your guests) ahead of time to understand expectations for celebrating together.
  • Bring your own food, drinks, plates, utensils, cups, and condiment packets.
  • Do not share food, drinks, or utensils with others.
  • If hosting, provide hand sanitizer stations for your guests.
  • Keep background music volume low so guests don’t have to shout and get closer to hear one another. Shouting increases the amount of droplets coming from your mouth.
  • Stay home if you are sick or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

It’s okay to cancel or postpone an event, even at the last minute. The CDC says the risk of holiday activities depends on many factors you should consider, such as:

  • Is COVID-19 spreading in your community?
  • Will you have a potential close contact with someone who is sick or anyone who is not wearing a mask (and may be asymptomatic)?
  • Are you or those close to you at increased risk of severe illness?
  • Do you take everyday actions to protect yourself from COVID-19?

In general, the more closely you interact with others and the longer the interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. Before heading to or hosting an event, please consider:

How many people will you interact with?

  • Interacting with more people raises your risk.
  • Being in a group with people who aren’t social distancing or wearing masks increases your risk.
  • Engaging with new people (e.g., those who don’t live with you) also raises your risk.
  • Some people have the virus and don’t have any symptoms, and it is not yet known how often people without symptoms can transmit the virus to others.

Can you keep six feet of space between you and others? Will you be outdoors or indoors?

  • The closer you are to other people who may be infected, the greater your risk of getting sick.
  • Keeping distance from other people is especially important for people who are at higher risk for severe illness, such as older adults and those with underlying medical conditions.
  • Spending more time with people who may be infected increases your risk of becoming infected.
  • Spending more time with people increases their risk of becoming infected if there is any chance that you may already be infected.

Hosting a virtual party is a great way to make sure everyone stays safe this holiday season. You can play trivia games, hold a festive background competition, and more thanks to platforms like Zoom and FaceTime!

While it may be an inconvenience, it's important to remember that this is temporary. These steps, along with getting your COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to you, will help us fight this pandemic and emerge healthier, together!