Gather Safely for the Holidays

Gathering during the holidays is an opportunity to connect with family and friends. This holiday season, consider how your holiday plans can be modified to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep everyone healthy and safe. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the pandemic is worsening, and small household gatherings are a key contributor to the rise in coronavirus cases.

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. Those who don’t live in your household, such as college students returning home for the holidays, are considered part of different households. In-person gatherings that bring together family members or friends from different households pose varying levels of risk. If you opt for a small gathering, here are a few guidelines to follow from the CDC.

Location. Consider moving the celebration outdoors, if possible. Indoor gatherings, especially those with poor ventilation, pose the most risk.

Duration. Gatherings that last longer pose more risk than shorter gatherings. Being within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more greatly increases the risk of becoming sick and requires a 14-day quarantine.

Safety Etiquette. Gatherings that encourage safety etiquette such as mask wearing, social distancing and handwashing, pose less risk than gatherings where fewer (or no) preventive measures are being observed.

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