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Celebrating the Holidays During COVID-19

Celebrating the Holidays During COVID-19

The holiday season is finally here, but with the COVID-19 pandemic at large, many are considering changes to their annual holiday traditions. As in-person gatherings may present different levels of transmission risks, it is important to take a few extra steps to maximize safety for you and your guests. In order to stay safe for the holidays, here is a list of considerations (courtesy of the CDC) to keep in mind while planning for your gatherings and celebrations.


Wear a Mask

Wearing a mask, along with keeping your distance (at least 6 feet) and washing your hands frequently, have proven to be some of the most effective methods for lowering virus transmission risk. Keeping your mask on helps to protect those around you by acting as a physical barrier to prevent your respiratory droplets from spreading through the air or on surfaces others may touch, and are especially helpful in cases where staying at least six feet from others may be difficult.


Consider Celebrating Outdoors

If the weather permits, consider taking your gatherings outdoors. In most cases, outdoor celebrations allow for better air circulation and ventilation, and often allow more space for people to move. Indoor gatherings pose a higher risk of virus transmission, especially in crowded, enclosed areas. Avoid them if possible; otherwise, opening a window may help air flow and lower the risk of coming into contact with the virus.


Limit Your Gatherings

As we’ve seen throughout this pandemic, the more people you are in close contact with, the higher your risk of virus transmission. Though there is no specific recommended limit to the amount of people that should attend a single gathering, this number of attendees should be decided by according to how feasible it is to limit contact and keep distance between individuals, as well as whether certain individuals are at higher risk of illness. Smaller gatherings with close family or friends, whose behavior and circumstances you are familiar with, are generally lower risk undertakings. 


Communicate With and Assess Your Guests

Set up preventative measures ahead of time and make them clear to your guests/other attendees. Because each individual has different health circumstances, different standards of virus safety, and may come from locations with different rates of community spread, it is important to get on the same page with all of your guests about following common safety guidelines before and while attending your event. Communicate with your guests to see whether any have attended large gatherings recently, if they have or will be participating in high-risk events, and how much exposure they have to others. If any guests may pose a higher risk of transmitting the virus, consider asking them to take a rapid COVID-19 test before their visit, or consider taking extra steps for a safer activity.

Other Considerations

  • Have extra masks and sanitary supplies available, either to bring to a gathering or to distribute to your guests. Having running soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer for others to use will also decrease risk.
  • Consider participating in a virtual celebration or an otherwise lower-risk activity instead if you:
    • Have recently been diagnosed with COVID-19 and have not met the criteria for when it is safe to be around others
    • Show symptoms of illness/COVID-19
    • May have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and have not yet received test results
    • Are immunocompromised and may be at increased risk of severe illness if exposed to COVID-19

While the holidays should be a fun and festive experience for all, it is important that you take the necessary precautions to minimize risk and keep yourself and those around you safe and healthy. 

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