Depending on where you live, you have probably been social distancing since March 2020 or after. Social distancing and quarantines have been going on for months, and as the holiday season approaches, it is understandable to be feeling down and anxious to see your friends and family to celebrate “the most wonderful time of the year.” If you are able to see friends and family, be sure to take the proper precautions. However, it is more likely you won’t be able to see your loved ones this year. Traditional celebrations may not be possible this year since it is not recommended to visit others with who you don’t live, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the holiday season this year. Alternatives for holiday celebrations will bring you the same amount of smiles, happiness, and spirit to make up for the distancing.
Who Is Most at Risk?
Before making any plans to go to a holiday party, it is best to know who is most at risk so you can take the proper precautions. According to the CDC, those who have been exposed to COVID-19 should not throw any gatherings or go to any gatherings for the holidays. This includes those who:
- Have been diagnosed with COVID-19
- Have symptoms of COVID-19
- Are waiting for COVID-19 test results
- Have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the last two weeks
- Pose a higher risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19
The CDC states that those who do pose a higher risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19 or those who live or work with such an individual should avoid gatherings that take place in-person. They should also avoid large gatherings of people and instead only go to events that are low risk of infection.
Preparing for a Holiday Gathering
If you do decide to go to a low-risk holiday gathering, you should still take the proper precautions and safety measures to ensure you protect yourself and others from possible infection. If you are going to a gathering, ensure it is outdoors, as this is safer because of the open air. Indoor activities should only be attended if they are not crowded and have proper ventilation. Be prepared to bring extra masks and hand sanitizer.
During the Gathering
During the actual holiday event, be sure that you are wearing a mask for the entirety of the event. This will help contain the virus and reduce the risk of spreading it. Make sure that you and other party guests do not shout, sing, or chant, especially if you and the others are not wearing masks. Ensure you are always at least six feet away from those you don’t live with and see all the time. Try not to have physical contact with anyone. Instead, greet others verbally and give them a wave. Always wash your hands. If soap and water are not available, use the hand sanitizer you packed with you.
After the Gathering
Once the event is over, you should still take measures to ensure you are healthy and not exposing yourself to others just in case you were exposed at the event. Do this by staying home as much as you can for at least 14 days. Get tested for COVID-19 if possible to confirm, and always avoid those who pose a higher risk for severe illnesses from COVID-19. Monitor your symptoms over the next two weeks. If you notice you are coughing, have a fever, or are experiencing shortness of breath, get tested for COVID-19 immediately. If you test positive, contact those that were at the event with you. You can find more information on what to do next on the CDC website.
Suggestions for Alternative Fall Celebrations
Again, the celebrations this year may need to take place differently than they normally would because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you are celebrating Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Halloween, Dia de Los Muertos, Navratri, Diwali, or Thanksgiving this fall, there are ways to celebrate without risking infection. These suggestions from the CDC for three major holidays will keep you and your family safe as you celebrate the holidays.
Consider carving pumpkins with only those that live in your household. You can also have a movie night with those you live with, have a trick or treat route in your home, decorate together, and more. Consider having a virtual costume contest with your friends and family far away.
Día de Los Muertos
Make food and then deliver it to your loved ones, play the music that your deceased loved ones liked to listen to, make an altar at home for the departed, and get together with your family over video chat to celebrate together.
Have dinner with only those in your household, deliver food to others without contact, shop online on Black Friday, and watch all major events from home on TV. You can also have a virtual dinner with friends and family.
COVID-19 has taken its toll on everyone. As quarantine and social distancing continue in many parts of the country, the holiday season appears to be taking on a different form this year. The big family get-togethers and work parties don’t seem to be possible without proper measures or alternative celebrations taking place. Knowing who is most at risk during the holiday season will help in planning and preparing for your plans and parties. Be sure to prepare for your gathering properly and follow safety measures while you are at each party. After you go back home, try to quarantine for two weeks if you were around people you are not normally with. Get tested for COVID-19 if possible, and if you receive a positive result, contact those you were at the gathering with. Taking part in the low-risk suggestions by the CDC for various holidays will reduce your risk of exposure. If you have any further questions, contact Northstar Transitions at (303) 558-6400.