The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidelines for safely celebrating the upcoming holiday season. Because large indoor gatherings are common for the holidays, the best way to minimize COVID-19 risks and keep your family and friends safer is to get vaccinated if you’re eligible. As we approach the second holiday season during the pandemic, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the CDC’s recommendations to plan safer gatherings.
How to Gather
The biggest difference between the holidays last year and the upcoming season is that COVID-19 vaccines are readily available in the United States. Additionally, there are several ways to enjoy holiday traditions and protect your health. The CDC recommends the following to keep yourself and your loved ones safe this holiday season:
- Get vaccinated if you’re eligible. Vaccination offers the best protection for those not yet eligible for vaccination, such as young children.
- Consider the location of the gathering. Celebrating outdoors is safer than indoors, and you should avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.
- Wear a well-fitting mask over your mouth and nose indoors if you are not fully vaccinated. Remember not to put a mask on children younger than 2 years old.
- Stay home if you’re sick or have COVID-19 symptoms.
- Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
- People may choose to wear a mask—regardless of the level of transmission—if a member of your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease or is unvaccinated.
Furthermore, people who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system may not be fully protected even if they’re fully vaccinated and have received an additional dose. Such people should take the same precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitting mask, until advised otherwise by their health care provider.
Suppose you gather with a group of people from multiple households and potentially from different parts of the country. In that case, you could consider additional precautions (e.g., avoiding crowded indoor spaces before travel, taking a test) in advance of gathering to reduce risk further.
How to Travel
The CDC continues to recommend delaying holiday travel like flying unless you’re fully vaccinated. If you’re not fully vaccinated or traveling with children who aren’t yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, choose other travel methods, such as driving. Keep in mind that all travelers—even if fully vaccinated—must wear masks on public transportation.
If you’re unvaccinated and traveling, the CDC has published additional tips for consideration.
Holiday traditions are undoubtedly important for families. By working together, Americans can enjoy safer holidays, travel and protect their health as well as the health of loved ones.
To learn more about holiday celebrations, click here.