With COVID-19 at its highest levels since the beginning of the pandemic, many people around the country are trying to figure out how to safely celebrate the holidays with family and friends. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people 65 years and older are at higher risk for getting a severe case of COVID-19.  Older family members are trying to stay safe until the vaccine becomes readily available.  It is important to develop a plan to protect our senior loved ones, as families get together.

If you are going to participate in a holiday gathering, you need to consider some modifications to your plan to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep yourself and others healthy and safe.

The CDC recommends taking the following actions for people planning to host or attend gathering during the holidays to lower the risk of transmitting the COVID-19 virus:

  • Check the COVID-19 infection rates (ex. John Hopkins, or CDC) in areas where attendees live, based on the current status of the pandemic, and consider if it is safe to hold or attend the gathering on the proposed date.
  • Limiting the number of people gathering.
  • Avoid direct contact, including handshakes and hugs.
  • Considering outdoor rather than indoor gatherings if possible.
  • Everyone should always wear a mask, except when eating or drinking. It is also important to stay at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Everyone in the gathering is encouraged to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer often.
  • Have one person who is wearing a mask serve the food.

The CDC says individuals who are highly susceptible to COVID-19 complications should avoid attending any in-person gatherings.  For more details about holiday celebrations and small gatherings, please check this link for the CDC guidelines.

The safest way you can celebrate the holidays, is with people who currently live in your household.  You should consider alternative methods to safely connect with loved ones, for example virtually through video communication apps like Zoom or FaceTime.