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The safest way to spend this holiday season is to celebrate with the people in your household. Before you attend an event, please consider the risk.
Check the current data for the spread where you live, where the event is being held, and any areas you will travel through along the way. Good resources include state and local public health departments and online tools such as https://covid19risk.biosci.gatech.edu/ or https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/us-map.
The more people who attend an event, the more likely it is that someone will spread the virus. Having more people also makes it harder to spread out and keep a physical distance.
Your safety depends on those around you. Find out what the host expects of guests and how behaviors will be enforced. Avoid gatherings where you don’t personally know the other people who will attend.
Outdoor gatherings are safest. If held indoors, make sure the space can accommodate the number of people who plan to attend. Make sure that people have enough room to keep a physical distance of at least 6 feet, especially when eating and drinking. Limit your time at the event to avoid exposure from people not in your household.
Traveling increases your risk, especially if you use public transportation or stay in a hotel. If you must travel, do it with your household members and limit stops and contact with others. Take steps to be safe: wear a mask, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer, keep a physical distance, and avoid crowds and closed spaces. If traveling by car, pack your food and plan stops for gas and restroom breaks. If traveling by plane, check the seating assignment options. Do your best to keep distance on the plane and in the airport.
When it comes to COVID-19, what others do affects you. Know the risk behaviors of other people who will attend. For example, what are the mask wearing habits of the people you will be around? Is a college student arriving home for the holidays? Are people traveling from different places? Are there children who have been in school, especially children playing sports? Has someone been in the hospital recently or traveled outside the area? You can’t control what other people do. That’s why it’s safest to celebrate with those already in your “bubble.”
Choosing whether or not to attend a holiday event is not easy. Staying home is always the safest option. However, spending time with loved ones is important, especially during the holidays. Each situation is different. Weigh the risks carefully. Think about it. Talk about it. And respect one another’s choices.
Many families are making the choice to postpone their holiday celebrations. COVID-19 rates are up across the country, flu season is starting, and the weather is getting colder, forcing people indoors. Experts recommend celebrating virtually and delaying in-person events.
Reviewed: December 2020