The 2020 holiday season is upon us! Typically, families travel all over the country to gather with loved ones, but this year will look dramatically different for the majority of us who are opting to stay home amid the COVIC-19 pandemic.

Health officials advise caution this year, the safest path is to restrict celebrations to the people already in your “bubble” and to stay within your household. For larger celebrations, virtual gatherings are safer than celebrating in-person. While this may mean that you will miss time with loved ones, remember that safe practices help everyone in your community.

For those who will be visiting with loved ones, below are some tips to Celebrate the Holidays Safely!

Assess Your Risk Factors

  • Review your local risk. Every state and town have different experiences. See the US tracking map to monitor your locality.
  • Do your guests live in high-risk regions?
  • Are you or any family members in high risk groups, such as older adults, people who are pregnant, disabled, or who have certain medical conditions?

Communicate (in advance!)

  • Have a discussion with family members/potential guests on prevention. How big is their “bubble”?
  • Ask invited guests in advance about any concerns they have.
  • If you are hosting, establish your planned safety measures. For example, rules about social distancing, masks, what they should bring or shouldn’t bring, etc.
  • If you are a guest, find out what prevention measures will be taken and decide if you are comfortable with those measures.
  • Respect people’s boundaries and choices. Give loved ones freedom to decline if they are not comfortable. Speak up if you are uncomfortable attending a family event.

Be Creative, Flexible and Understanding

  • No matter how meticulously you plan, outside circumstances can change. Be flexible and adapt to changing circumstances.
  • Although it may be more difficult in colder months, plan outdoor celebrations if weather cooperates.
  • Similarly, consider planning virtual celebrations – sharing memories or stories, even sharing a virtual holiday dinner.

Think “Safety First!”

  • Limit the number of guests because each person you add increases risk.
  • Assess your space in advance to see how many you can accommodate within the 6-foot social distancing guidelines.
  • Avoid hugs, kisses, and handshakes this year, no matter how tempting.
  • Require mask-wearing both inside and outside, except while eating or drinking. Masks should cover the nose and the mouth.
  • Increase air flow and ventilation by opening windows and doors, if weather permits, or set central air and heating to continuous circulation.
  • If hosting, provide hand soap, water, sanitizer, disposable hand towels, and extra disposable masks.
  • Limit contact with commonly touched surfaces or shared items such as serving utensils.
  • Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces such as bathroom faucets and doorknobs.
  • Have one mask-wearing person serve all the food so that multiple people are not handling the serving utensils.

Working together is an integral part of minimizing risk of COVID-19. Communitas wishes to thank everyone for their continued efforts and commitment to following safety practices that will allow people to remain healthy. From all of us at Communitas, we wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season. Celebrate the Holidays Safely!

For more safety suggestions to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, check out our post – “16 Helpful CDC Guidelines for Families!”