CDC issues COVID-19 guidelines to celebrate holidays safely

Coronavirus Local Impact

(WWLP/CDC) – The CDC has issued new guidelines on how to celebrate the holiday season safely as fall takes hold across the country.

Their first recommendation is be fully vaccinated. Beyond vaccination, they still recommend getting together via video chat instead of in-person gatherings. If you are getting together with a group, outdoor parties are a great way to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

If you’re hosting people indoors, keep ventilation flowing by opening the windows. And as always if you aren’t feeling well just stay home.

illustration of families celebrating fall festivities
(CDC)

Attending gatherings to celebrate events and holidays increases your risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. The safest way to celebrate is virtually, with people who live with you, or outside and at least 6 feet apart from others.

Safer Ways to Celebrate Holidays

  • Decorate your home with holiday themed items and banners.
  • Host a video chat party with family and friends to share in the celebration.
  • Plan a special meal with people who live with you inspired by the holiday or event.
  • Have an outdoor celebration with everyone at least 6 feet apart.
  • Watch virtual events and celebrations.
  • Drive or walk around your community to wave to neighbors from a safe distance.
  • Take a food or gift to family, friends, and neighbors in a way that does not involve contact with others, such as leaving them at the door.
  • Throw a virtual dance party and collaborate with friends and family on a playlist.
  • Celebrate outside with neighbors and friends.
  • Volunteer to help others in need.
  • Attend a virtual ceremony or celebration.

Celebrating In-Person with People Outside Your Household

If you are attending an in-person holiday celebration, take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19.

  • Get vaccinated when you are eligible.
  • Know when to wear a mask.
  • If you are not fully vaccinated and aged 2 or older, you should wear a mask in indoor public places.
    • In general, you do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings.
      • In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.
  • Outdoor activities are safer than indoor gatherings.
  • Have conversations ahead of time to understand expectations for celebrating together.
  • Do not attend or host a gathering if you are sick or have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • 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.

Holiday Travel

CDC recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated.

  • If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow CDC’s Domestic Travel or International Travel recommendations for unvaccinated people.
  • If you will be traveling with unvaccinated people, such as children younger than 12 who are not eligible for vaccines, follow recommendations for unvaccinated people and choose the safer travel options.
  • Everyone, even people who are fully vaccinated, will still be required to wear a mask on public transportation.
  • If you are considering traveling for a holiday or event, visit CDC’s Travel page to help you decide what is best for you and your family.

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