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12 Tips for a Safer Holiday Season During the COVID-19 Pandemic

'Tis the season! Take 12!


‘Tis the season when families would typically be gathering to share food and gifts. With COVID-19 numbers on the rise once again, this year will be different for many families.

If you plan to visit family or friends over the holidays, it is essential to take precautions to help keep yourself and others safe. We’ve gathered twelve safety tips to keep in mind as you celebrate the holidays this year.

  1. Isolating in Advance of Traveling: In-person gatherings that bring together family members or friends from different households, including college students returning home, pose varying levels of risk. While the safest option is to stay home and celebrate with only those in your household, if you are traveling or gathering, now is the time to begin quarantining and consider getting tested 1 - 3 days in advance of travel.

  2. Get Tested! If you plan to spend the end-of-year holidays with out-of-household family members and friends, everyone should get tested no more than three days before getting together.

  3. Limit the Number of Guests: Gatherings with more people increase the odds of someone in the group being a symptomless or pre-symptomatic carrier of the coronavirus. If you are gathering, keep it to ten or less.

  4. Holiday Dinners: If you’re just hosting a holiday dinner, guests should be encouraged to bring their food and avoid sharing dishes and utensils.

  5. Social Distance: Everyone should keep six feet between out-of-household family members during their visit, especially around the elderly and medically vulnerable.

  6. Wear a Mask: All family members should wear masks that cover their nose, mouth, and chin.

  7. Outside Is Better Than Inside: If the weather cooperates, try to gather outside as much as possible. It’s safer!

  8. Protect the Elderly and Medically Vulnerable: The elderly and the medically vulnerable are at the highest risk of death from COVID-19. Gatherings can be risky for this group but should be balanced with that person’s feeling of isolation. Con- sider virtual inclusion if possible.

  9. Handwashing: Encourage good hygiene from your guests — washing hands for 20 seconds with soap and water. Make hand sanitizer available.

  10. Keep It Short: The longer people gather together, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

  11. Monitor Your Health Daily Leading Up to the Holiday: If you exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19, immediately isolate and contact your doctor to conduct a virtual health visit. You can schedule a COVID-19 virtual screening here.

  12. Out-of-Household Family Members: Have candid conversations with your college kids who are returning home for the holidays to help ensure their re-entry into the house is as safe as possible. Anyone traveling to visit you from out of town should share their travel and self-quarantine plans and actions to stay safe once they arrive and return home.

Here are a few additional resources:


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