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Checklist for Hosting a Holiday Gathering During COVID-19 Pandemic

The safest way to celebrate the holidays this year is with the people in your household. Or plan a virtual celebration. If you decide to host an in-person holiday gathering, here are some ways to make it safer for you and your guests:

  • Limit your guest list. Keep it to your household and only a small number of people who you trust to practice safe behaviors before and during the event.
  • Set expectations ahead of time. Let guests know that masks and physical distancing are required. Only invite people who are willing to follow the rules.
Set expectations ahead of time. Let guests know that masks and physical distancing are required. Only invite people who are willing to follow the rules.
  • Provide face masks and hand sanitizer for guests. Place them in baskets by the entrance or put together individual goodie bags.
  • Plan your space so that people can spread out. Think about where people normally gather, such as in the kitchen or in front of the television. Offer multiple areas to be physically distant.
  • Make sure there is good air flow. Gather outdoors or in the garage with the door open. If you are indoors, open windows and set the fan on your thermostat to the On setting.
Make sure there is good air flow. Gather outdoors or in the garage with the door open. If you are indoors, open windows and set the fan on your thermostat to the On setting.
  • Prepare food ahead of time and have guests bring food ready to serve.
  • Offer appetizers and snacks in single portions. Don’t set out food where people will gather and linger.
  • Have one person serve the food, and make sure the server wears a mask and gloves. Don’t allow people to line up close together.
  • Provide single serve drinks. If you are serving wine, fill glasses for your guests.
  • Arrange dinner seating by household. Avoid sitting around a common table. Masks will be off for eating, so make sure that people have plenty of room to be distant.
Arrange dinner seating by household. Avoid sitting around a common table. Masks will be off for eating, so make sure that people have plenty of room to be distant.
  • Use individual packets of salt and pepper. Don’t share condiments, ice scoops, or other items.
  • Use disposable plates, utensils, and napkins. Offer no-touch trash cans so that people can easily throw away their own items.
Limit shared items to reduce contact. Use individual packets of salt and pepper. Don’t share condiments, ice scoops, or other items. Use disposable plates, utensils, and napkins. Offer no-touch trash cans so that people can easily throw away their own items.
  • Clean high touch surfaces during the party. Pay attention to doorknobs, countertops, and sink handles.
  • During clean up, be mindful of what you touch and make sure you wash your hands after.
  • Keep a list of who attended and ask guests to let you know if anyone develops symptoms in the next 14 days.
  • Plan a virtual Thanksgiving. Have a specific time to include loved ones who can’t be there in person. This will help you reduce the risk and allow you to celebrate together.


Reviewed: November 2020