The holidays are meant to be a joyous time of togetherness for family and friends. This year, however, creating those special holiday memories will require a little more planning and patience in order to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some things to consider when planning your Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holiday celebrations this year.
Where You’re Going
If you plan to travel, you’ll want to first evaluate the spread of COVID-19 around your destination. The New York Times has an easy-to-use graph that shows COVID-related data, such as new cases and hospitalizations, by state and county. You should do you research to determine if:
- The area is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases
- The local city or county has instituted public health restrictions, such as stay-at-home orders or limits to in-person gatherings
The U.S. is a large country, and the degree of COVID-19 infection varies from place to place. If you’re planning to travel to an area where the pandemic is relatively controlled, you may be inclined to hold indoor gatherings with a moderate degree of precautions.
How You’ll Get There
The current pandemic has many people reconsidering their travel plans, especially if they involve air travel. Although you’re sure to find discounted plane tickets this year, the CDC notes that air travel comes with a much higher exposure risk compared to driving. Still, there are several precautions you may take to reduce your risk when traveling.
If you fly:
- Wear a mask at all times, including during security, at your gate and on the flight
- Maintain six feet of distance at all times
- Wash your hands often
- Wipe down your seat and tray table with a disinfecting wipe
- Try to book a direct flight to eliminate possible exposure during layovers
If you drive:
- Limit your amount of stops at gas stations and restaurants to reduce your exposure risk.
- Disinfect high-touch surfaces within the car
- Limit your passengers to only members of your household
How Many People You’ll See
COVID-19 is spread through the air, and large, indoor gatherings are some of the biggest drivers of new infections. Simply put: more people means more chances for the virus to spread. Although the CDC has not set a limit on attendees, it does recommend that you limit attendees to ensure everyone has the ability to stay six feet apart.
What Precautions You’ll Take
When planning your gathering, you should also plan ways to keep everyone safe during the day. Just a few simple precautions could go a long way toward keeping you and your loved ones healthy during the holidays. This could include:
- Wearing masks when moving around the space
- Spreading out seating to allow for social distancing
- Washing hands throughout the day
- Disinfecting high-touch surfaces, such as doorknobs and countertops, throughout the day
- Asking all attendees to get a COVID-19 test shortly before the gathering
If You Can’t Travel…
It is truly unfortunate, but some people may not be able to spend the holidays with their loved ones this year. The CDC advises against in-person gatherings for those with COVID-19, those who may have been exposed to it or those at an increased risk for severe illness. This includes adults over 65 and individuals with pre-existing medical conditions.
Still, there are plenty of other ways to get creative and virtually spread holiday cheer:
- Order takeout from a favorite restaurant and enjoy a meal with family
- Make a holiday Bingo card and get the family together for a round
- Hold a gingerbread decorating contest
- Read a holiday poem or story to the kids
We understand the pandemic has created innumerable challenges, but there’s still room to safely celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. From all of us at Casey Devoti & Brockland, we hope you and yours enjoy a joyful, restful holiday season!