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How To Celebrate The Holidays During a Pandemic

November 12, 2020

If you’re hoping to celebrate the holidays this year in the midst of a pandemic, you still can. But in order to do it safely and to minimize risk, it will look very different than the holiday celebrations you’re used to. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that small household gatherings are an important contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still surging, you’re going to have to flip the script on your typical holiday plans. You may even have to make some tough decisions, like inviting fewer people to keep your gathering as small as possible. You may even have to try a few different ways to celebrate this year.

Let’s take a look at some ways you can celebrate the holidays this year while minimizing the spread of COVID-19.

Celebrate With Open Windows

In order to celebrate safely, you’ll need a lot of ventilation. A few ways to do this include:

  • Natural Ventilation: Open windows and doors
  • Infiltration: Outdoor air flowing into your house through openings, cracks in walls, and around windows and doors
  • Mechanical Means: Outdoor air intakes associated with the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system

The safest indoor space is one that constantly has lots of outside air replacing the stale air inside.

Celebrate The Holidays Outside

Your best option is to go outside (if the weather permits), and if you’re fortunate enough to get outside, there are a few additional precautions you can take.

  1. Spread out: Rather than eat around one table, set up individual tables and place settings spaced far apart. Add space heaters and blankets for comfort.
  2. Segregate: Keep everyone who lives in your home together in one section and have sections for grandparents, aunts and uncles.
  3. Mask up: Whether outside or inside (with the windows open), make sure everyone is wearing their mask when they’re not eating and staying 6 feet away from each other.

Remember that the smaller your gathering, the easier it will be for everyone to spread out.

Set Up a Virtual Table

If you’re not willing to take the risk of inviting family members (and friends) into your home, you can always set up a virtual table. Host a Zoom call for your family.

Once everyone agrees on a time, try placing your laptop either at the head of the table or on a lazy Susan in the middle of the table so that it can rotate and face the person speaking.

Host a practice call with everyone before your celebration to work out any technical kinks.

Tips From The CDC To Celebrate The Holidays Safely

The CDC shares some additional tips on their website. They include:

  • Encourage guests to avoid singing or shouting, especially indoors
  • Keep music levels down so people don’t have to shout or speak loudly to be heard
  • Provide and/or encourage attendees to bring supplies like extra masks (do not share or swap with others), hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, and tissues
  • Stock bathrooms with enough hand soap and single-use towels
  • Limit contact with commonly touched surfaces or shared items such as serving utensils
  • Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces
  • Use touchless garbage cans if available
  • Use gloves when removing garbage bags or handling and disposing of trash
  • Wash hands after removing gloves

Here are more safe ways to celebrate Thanksgiving from the CDC. Researchers at the Ohio Department of Public Health and the CDC are doing everything in their power to keep coronavirus from spreading any further in the United States.

Celebrate The Holidays Safely

The bottom line is to be smart. Taking a few extra precautions may seem a little out of sorts, but it’s the best way to keep you and your family safe.

By practicing these safety guidelines, you can still have a happy holiday season.

Annual Exams-Dr. Stevens

And now that flu season is here, if you’d like to learn more about the characteristics of both influenza and COVID-19, visit our new interactive webpage. You’ll find all of the similarities and differences between the viruses and other ways to protect yourself this flu season.

Flu vs Coronavirus