Celebrating the Holidays Safely to Remain Healthy
The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful and isolating for many people. Gatherings during the upcoming holidays can be an opportunity to reconnect with family and friends. This holiday season, consider how your holiday plans can be modified to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to keep your friends, families, and communities healthy and safe.
Considerations for Small Gatherings of Family and Friends
Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household who are consistently taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 poses the lowest risk. Your household is anyone who currently lives and shares common spaces in your housing unit (such as your house or apartment). This can include family members, as well as roommates or people who are unrelated to you. In-person gatherings that bring together family members or friends from different households, including college students returning home, pose varying levels of risk.
If you choose to have guests at your home, make sure that everyone follows the steps to make holiday celebrations safer. Other ways you can make your celebration safer include:
- Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
- Limit the number of guests.
- Have extra unused masks available for your guests and encourage everyone to wear them inside and outside.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
- If celebrating indoors, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors, if possible. You can use a window fan in one of the open windows to blow air out of the window. This will pull fresh air in through the other open windows.
- Have a separate space for guests to wash their hands or provide hand sanitizer.
- Keep background music volume low so guests don’t need to shout and move closer together to be heard.
- Cancel your gathering if you or someone who lives with you is sick or has been near someone who thinks they have or has COVID-19.
- It’s okay if you decide to postpone or cancel your gathering. Do what’s best for you.
Everyone Can Make Winter Holiday Celebrations Safer
- Wear a mask.
- Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you.
- Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
- Wash your hands - Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, and before eating.
- Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose, and mouth.
The Following People Should Not Attend In-Person Holiday Gatherings
People with or exposed to COVID-19
- Do not host or participate in any in-person gatherings if you or anyone in your household:
- Has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and has not met the criteria for when it is safe to be around others
- Has symptoms of COVID-19
- Is waiting for COVID-19 viral test results
- May have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days
- Is at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19
People at increased risk for severe illness
If you are an older adult or person with certain medical conditions who is at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, or live or work with someone at increased risk of severe illness, you should avoid in-person gatherings with people who do not live in your household.