The holidays in the past have been times for laughter, joy, and getting together. But this year, we can expect the holidays to look a little differently. Many people are concerned and confused as to how to safely have a holiday celebration in the midst of a pandemic. While most of us want to see our friends and families, we also want to remain safe and follow social distancing guidelines. So what can you do to ensure that your holidays are fun but safe for the whole family? Here are some of the recommendations from the CDC as to how to follow social distancing guidelines during the holidays:

  • Consider the Levels of COVID-19 in Your Community- Those living in areas with higher infection rates should consider a more socially distanced holiday celebration than those who live in areas with lower infection rates. If you plan to gather for the holidays, try to do it in a community that is lower risk and be conscious of where your invited guests are coming from.
  •  Location- Your safest bet, if possible, is to hold your events outdoors. If this is not possible due to weather or other conditions, larger areas should be used to accommodate guests so that a 6 foot distance can be kept and guest numbers should be limited.
  • Duration- Try to limit the duration of your holiday gatherings to the shortest time possible. Although we may all want to be around our loved ones for long periods, shorter gatherings are less likely to cause a spread than longer ones.
  • Guests- As mentioned, your guest list should be as short as possible to decrease the risk of infection spreading. You should also consider factors when inviting guests such as their location (high risk vs. low risk living areas), their behaviors (are they socially distancing or going out regularly and interacting with others often?), their age (older guests are at a higher risk), and their willingness to comply to social distancing guidelines (will they wear a mask if asked?).
  • Behavior During Gathering- Attendees should be encouraged to stay home if feeling unwell. They should also be encouraged to wash hands upon arrival and frequently during the gathering, wear a mask when not eating or drinking, and stand 6 feet apart when at all possible. Make sure food and drinks are stored in a safe and un-exposed area and that people do not share utensils or cups, and pay attention to high-touch surfaces.

For further information on how to stay safe during the holidays, including information on traveling, gatherings, before/after celebrations, higher risk individuals, and holiday risk breakdowns, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html .

Stay safe and have a happy holiday season!