COVID-19: Tips for Celebrating the Holidays Safely

COVID-19: Tips for Celebrating the Holidays Safely

How do you celebrate the “most wonderful time of the year” amid our new normal? The COVID-19 pandemic will likely change holiday traditions for most of us.

While helping to slow the spread of the virus should remain a priority, you can still enjoy the holidays. But you should be mindful of current COVID-19 levels in your community to weigh whether to attend, postpone, cancel or limit the number of guests to any in-person gatherings.

Who Should Pass on Holiday Get-togethers

According to the CDC, you should not host or participate in in-person celebrations if you (or those in your household):

  • Have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and haven’t met the criteria for when it’s safe to gather with others
  • Have COVID-19 symptoms
  • Are waiting for COVID-19 test results
  • May have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the last 14 days
  • Are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19

If you don’t fall into any of the above categories, follow these tips for added peace of mind:

  • Opt to stay home with your immediate family and visit with others virtually.

  • Hold a small gathering outside. If hosting an outdoor event isn’t possible, avoid crowded, poorly ventilated or fully enclosed indoor spaces. Increase ventilation by opening windows and doors, weather permitting. Studies show it’s 10 times easier to transmit the virus indoors versus outdoors. For those who live in Michigan or states with cold winters, it’s likely holidays will be spent indoors. Limit the number of attendees and let your guests know about the COVID-19 steps you have in place to help keep them safe.

  • Provide supplies to help you and your guests stay healthy (e.g., face masks, hand sanitizer and tissues). If attending an event, you may want to bring your own supplies as an added precaution. Remember, wear a mask around others who do not live in your household. Do not share or swap masks with others.

  • Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from people you don’t live with, especially in areas where it may be harder to spread out (e.g., restrooms and eating areas).

  • Don’t use restrooms at high-traffic times like at the end of a public event. If you plan to eat out at a restaurant, avoid high-volume mealtimes.

  • Minimize gestures that encourage close contact (e.g., handshaking and hugging). Wave and verbally greet others.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

  • Have one person serve all the food at your gathering, so that multiple people aren’t handling serving dishes and utensils.

  • Consider whether traveling is safe for you and/or your family. If you decide to travel, wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered in public places, wash your hands often, avoid close contact with those not from your household, and refrain from contact with anyone who is ill.

  • Get your annual flu shot. Gatherings can increase the odds of spreading other contagious illnesses like influenza, too.

For more holiday health strategies, visit the CDC website. You can also learn more about COVID-19 and Holland Hospital’s response here.

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