As many of us in North America prepare for fall and winter holiday celebrations, here at Community Confidence we wanted to pass along some tips you may want to consider to assist in protecting you and your families as well as your friends and communities from COVID-19.
Let’s take a look at the A to Z of how to celebrate the holidays with confidence!
Advised – As helpful as these ABCs of How to Celebrate the Holidays with confidence may be, please be advised that these considerations should supplement – not replace – any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which holiday gatherings are instructed to comply.
Behavior of attendees during the gathering – Remember, gatherings which have more preventive safety measures in place such as social distancing, wearing of masks, and hand washing are less risky than those that have fewer or no safety measures in place.
Consider appointing a single person to serve all the food at your gathering; this will ensure that multiple people are not touching the serving utensils and can minimize the risk of infection.
Duration – The duration of the gathering is important as common sense dictates that those gatherings which last longer pose more risk than those gatherings which are shorter in duration.
Educate yourself on how to handle specific fall holidays (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Día de Los Muertos, Navratri, Diwali, and Thanksgiving) which will all be different this year. A great resource which outlines low, moderate, and high-risk activities for each can be found here.
Flu vaccine – Vaccines can help you stave off illness, so it may be a good idea to get yours now. It takes the body several weeks to build up antibodies to help protect you from the flu after you get the vaccine. So, by getting it well in advance you can help protect yourself and others during the holidays.
“Get out of here!” – Is what you should say, or perhaps something more polite, to people who come into where food is being prepared! Seriously, it is a good idea to try and limit the number of people coming in and out of areas where food is being prepared – such as the kitchen and dining room.
Halloween – Because of COVID-19, Halloween is going to be different this year. You may want to check out this great resource from NCDHHS on how to celebrate it more safely.
Inside – If your gathering must be inside, try to increase air flow by partially opening a couple of windows. In fact, you may also check out this great article on how ventilation and air filtration can play a big role in limiting the spread of COVID-19 indoors.
Just stay home – If you are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, or live or work with someone that has an increased risk of severe illness, it is a good idea to stay home and avoid any in-person gatherings with those who do not live in your household.
Keeping 6 feet away and utilizing social distancing is one of the best ways to limit the spread of COVID-19, no matter which type of holiday event you are attending.
Limit the number of guests that you invite if you are hosting a holiday gathering or party, or stagger the arrival of guests. This is one time when “more” isn’t necessarily “merrier”!
Masks – It is a good idea to wear a mask at all times when you are in the presence of people who don’t live in your household in order to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19.
No Costume Masks – A follow up to the previous point on masks is that costume masks are not a suitable replacement for a cloth mask unless they are made of two or more layers of breathable fabric which covers your mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around your face.
Outside – It is a good idea to have as many activities outside as possible, weather permitting. Outdoor activities are always preferable to indoor activities. If you cannot host your event outside, increase the ventilation by opening the windows and doors, if possible.
Prepare yourself and your guests to always be wearing masks when inside and not eating or drinking. When traveling, it is also a good idea to reduce your risk by always wearing face coverings.
Quarantine or isolation – If you or your guests are sick, then attending any holiday gatherings should not even be an option. Those who are sick should be in quarantine or isolation.
Reduce – It is a good idea to reduce your activities in the two weeks prior to attending a gathering and to request that your guests do the same. This will reduce risk of exposure to COVID-19 and any further spread.
Seating arrangements – If you are hosting a holiday meal, it is a good idea to keep those from the same family together while putting space between different families.
Traveling – Unfortunately, traveling can increase the spread of COVID-19. So, the best option is not to travel. However, if you must travel, you may want to check out our recent blog post on the do’s and don’ts of traveling during a pandemic.
Updated – It is always a good idea for hosts and guests to stay updated on COVID-19 safety guidelines and to take steps to prevent the spread of the disease.
Virtual – The gatherings with the lowest risk are virtual gatherings or those which include your immediate household.
When serving food, buffet-style or potluck settings should be avoided!
Xtra – It is a good idea to make masks, tissues, and hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol available at gatherings.
You! You should assess current COVID-19 levels in your community to determine whether to postpone, cancel, or limit the number of attendees.
Zero – The number of excuses you have for not following us on social media! Check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!
Until next time, follow the A to Z of how to celebrate the holidays with confidence…Community Confidence!