Here are some things you can do to make your holidays safer and protect the ones you love.
1) Get Tested
If you do plan on going home for the holidays — make sure you get tested.
Many people can have Covid-19 without even knowing and can easily pass it on to others.
BUT a negative test doesn’t mean you’re in the clear — you could become infectious later. If you test negative, you STILL need to continue to protect yourself and others by washing your hands frequently, physically distancing, and wearing a face mask.
Before heading home, minimize exposure & limit activities and contacts ➡️ stick to your bubble or quaranteam.
If you test positive make sure to isolate yourself. Let others with whom you have been in contact since the time of your exposure know so they can also get tested.
Some types of travel and activities can put you at higher risk for exposure to COVID-19. View CDC recommendations here.
*When traveling follow these CDC recommended tips*
- Wear a mask in public settings, like on public and mass transportation, at events and gatherings, and anywhere you will be around other people.
- Avoid close contact by staying at least 6 feet apart from anyone who is not from your household.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
- Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
- Avoid touching your face mask, eyes, nose, and mouth.
Reduce the number of stops on the trip.
- Take a direct flight if possible.
- If driving, pack food/snacks for the car trip home.
- The safest option is to bring your own food. If you don’t bring your own food, use drive-through, delivery, take-out, and curb-side pick-up options.
- Use disposable gloves to gas or use disinfecting wipes on handles and buttons at the gas pumps before you touch them (if available).
- After fueling, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. When you get to your destination, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
What to do when you get home
The most cautious approach upon arrival home is to quarantine for fourteen days.
This is especially important if you have high-risk people in your household.
What does quarantining at home mean
When you’re home you should:
- Eat meals in a private space or outdoors with family at least 6 ft apart.
- Use separate serving ware, utensils, glasses, and plates.
- Use a separate bathroom from other family members. If not possible, disinfect the bathroom after each use.
- Avoid physical contact (the hugs and kisses can come later).
- Wear a mask and maintain a distance of at least 6 ft when in the presence of others.
- Restrict movement within and outside the home.
If quarantine is not possible, stay physically distant from family household members, wear a face covering, and avoid close contact, including hugging and shaking hands, for the first 14 days home.
3) Considerations for Small Gatherings of Family and Friends
The best way to keep everyone safe? Celebrating virtually this year or keeping your celebration limited to your own household.
The lowest risk for spread? Celebrating with members of your own household (who are consistently taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19). This includes anyone who currently lives and shares common spaces in your house or apartment.
If you do plan on throwing or attending a gathering — it's recommended that it be held outside.
- Keep music levels down so people don’t have to shout or speak loudly to be heard.
- Plan ahead and ask guests to avoid contact with people outside of their households for 14 days before the gathering.
Remember to mask up and social distance!
4) Food and drinks at small holiday gatherings
There is no evidence that Covid-19 can be spread from eating or handling food. But it is possible for Covid to spread from touching surfaces or objects.
Here are a few things that the CDC recommends when it comes to handling food this holiday season.
- Encourage guests to bring food and drinks for themselves and for members of their own household only; AVOID potluck-style gatherings.
- Have one person who is wearing a mask serve all the food so that multiple people are not handling the serving utensils.
- Designate a space for guests to wash hands after handling or eating food.
- Wash dishes in the dishwasher or with hot soapy water immediately following the gathering.
5) Steps to take if exposed to COVID-19 during a holiday gathering
If you are exposed to Covid-19 at any time, you should self-quarantine to protect others.
- Watch for fever (100.4◦F or higher), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19
- Consider getting tested for COVID-19. Even if you test negative for COVID-19 or feel healthy, you should still stay home (quarantine) for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. This is because symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus, and some infected people never have symptoms but are still contagious.
- Do not travel until 14 days after your last possible exposure.
If you develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 within 14 days of the event or celebration, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, or if you test positive for COVID-19, immediately notify the host and others who attended. They may need to inform other attendees about their possible exposure to the virus.