Healthy Holidays: Reducing the Spread of COVID-19
Article originally published November 18, 2020.
When it comes to cold, flu and COVID-19, prevention is important: during the holiday season, you should continue wearing your mask, maintaining your distance and washing your hands regularly to reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses, even if you’re vaccinated.
While it’s best to avoid large gatherings, the holidays can make staying apart more challenging than ever before. If you are planning on hosting or attending gatherings this season, it’s critical that you do all you can to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community.
Follow these tips to help minimize your risks:
Celebrate Within Your Household
Consider having a small celebration with the people in your household. To stay connected with others, prepare traditional family recipes and safely deliver them to neighbors and loved ones, or host a virtual dinner party in lieu of traveling.
Limit Gatherings to Small Groups
Limit gatherings to no more than a few family groups. Encourage social distancing by setting up appropriately spaced tables and chairs ahead of time, and depending on your comfort level, discuss vaccination status before your event. Vaccination can lower the risk of serious illness and death for all age groups.
Prepare and Serve Food with Care
Limit the number of people preparing and handling food. When its time to eat, consider electing a “designated server” to plate or package food for all guests – this helps decrease traffic around dishes and minimizes the touching of shared utensils. Single-use cups, plates and cutlery can make for a safe and easy clean up.
Spend Time Outside
If weather permits, consider moving your celebration outdoors or into a well-ventilated space. If you must be inside, open windows to increase air circulation. Remember: fresh air does not eliminate the need for masks. All guests, especially those who are unvaccinated, should wear face coverings when not eating or drinking.
Stay Home if Sick
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the past 10 days or are awaiting test results: stay home. If you are hosting the gathering, call your loved ones to let them know you are cancelling the celebration to keep them safe.
Remember the Basics
- Get vaccinated if you are able. COVID-19 and flu vaccines are safe and effective in preventing serious illness and death.
- Wash and sanitize your hands frequently.
- Clean and disinfect shared and high-touch surfaces.
- Maintain social distance and avoid crowded spaces.
- Wear your mask over your mouth and nose.
Celebrating during the COVID-19 outbreak means you have to be creative, flexible and prepared to make adjustments for the health and safety of your loved ones. While changing holiday traditions may be disappointing, it’s important that we make good choices now so that we can celebrate together later.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention