This year has brought many changes to the lives of people from all over the world. The coronavirus pandemic has made everyone think about how they socialize. In recent months, people have been asked to stay home from group activities that may even include going to work and school. Now, families have many questions about how to handle the upcoming holidays. Fortunately, the CDC provides guidance that can help everyone stay safe during holiday celebrations.

Look at the Community COVID Levels
There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to planning holiday gatherings. The current recommendation is to look at how the COVID levels are in a specific community. There might also be guidelines or mandates in place that prohibit in-person gatherings or require people to only allow a certain number of guests. Travel restrictions and quarantine recommendations might also impact who can attend a planned holiday gathering.

Focus On Healthy Behaviors
The way that people behave before and during the gathering impacts their safety levels. Ideally, anyone who intends to attend a gathering should strive to limit their social activities for two weeks before the event. Wearing a mask while out in public, practicing good hand sanitation, and social distancing all work together to help reduce the chances of a person spreading the virus.

Make Adjustments to In-Person Gatherings
This year’s gathering might also need to look a little different. While potluck dinners have often been an easy way to plan food and drinks, it might be better to have everyone prepare their own meals. The CDC also suggests that having one person who is wearing a mask serve the food might be the safest way to handle group meals.

Explore Alternative Celebration Options
Vulnerable people should not attend group gatherings, which might be hard to accept. Fortunately, there are ways to include people who cannot safely gather or that prefer to avoid in-person gatherings. Virtual celebrations are a fun way to connect with loved ones. Some families might also enjoy doing a contactless food or gift exchange.

Holiday gatherings might look different this year, but it is possible to enjoy socialization from a safe distance. Combining creativity with a heightened sense of safety means that everyone has a better chance of staying healthy through the season.