The holidays will look different this year as coronavirus cases surge and new guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise Americans to forego caroling, loud music and even drinking alcohol. The CDC offered new health and safety guidelines last week to consider during the holidays if people host or attend small gatherings. The CDC advises to celebrate small gatherings with your own household this year to reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you must attend or host an event with people who live in different households it’s best to do so outdoors while limiting the number of attendees. The holiday spirit may be dampened as the CDC says to “encourage guests to avoid singing or shouting, especially indoors,” meaning there will be no Christmas caroling this year. “Keep music levels down so people don’t have to shout or speak loudly to be heard,” the guidelines say. Experts say coronavirus is primarily transmitted though respiratory droplets such as saliva, which can be spread when raising your voice or singings. Officials also say ringing in the holiday spirit with champagne or other alcoholic beverages may be a danger. The CDC labeled alcohol consumption as a high risk activity saying: “Using alcohol or drugs may alter judgment and make it more difficult to practice COVID19 safety measures.” The CDC advises avoiding meeting with people from different households and instead delivering food to family members contact-free and host a virtual gathering to feel together during the festive season. But those that still want to meet are encouraged to avoid direct contact – meaning no handshakes or hugs this holiday season with people outside your household – and to maintain six feet of social distance. Guests are also advised to wear masks while not eating and drinking and are advised to quarantine for 14 days before and after the event to minimize exposure to the virus. The agency also advises to cancel holiday shopping in crowded stores around Thanksgiving, putting an end the usual Black Friday chaos.
To read the whole guidance: CLICK HERE (You will be redirected to the CDC)
Lower risk activities
- Having a small dinner with only people who live in your household
- Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others
- Having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family
- Shopping online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving or the next Monday
- Watching sports events, parades, and movies from home
- Having a small outdoor dinner with family and friends who live in your community
- Lower your risk by following CDC’s recommendations on hosting gatherings or cook-outs.
- Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing
- Attending a small outdoor sports events with safety precautions in place
Avoid these higher risk activities to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19:
- Going shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving
- Participating or being a spectator at a crowded race
- Attending crowded parades
- Attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household
- Using alcohol or drugs that may alter judgment and make it more difficult to practice COVID-19 safety measures.
Photo Credit: Christmas Vacation / Warner Brothers Pictures / Hughes Entertainment