The holidays have always been known as a fun and festive time of year. Sadly, 2020 has not made it easy to enjoy the company of friends and family, and it doesn’t seem to be letting up over the next few weeks. Of course all of us want to see the loved ones we’ve been unable to connect with for most of the year, but as always, safety comes first. Before coming together for holiday dinners and parties, we must ask ourselves important questions such as: Should I avoid inviting grandma to Thanksgiving dinner? Should I invite anyone at all? Should I go to family or friend’s houses instead? Is it safe to exchange Christmas gifts?
Currently, COVID-19 cases are beginning to surge all over the country. In fact, it seems that we are breaking records almost every day for the highest number of daily cases. Unfortunately, with the aforementioned rise in coronavirus cases as well as the drop in temperatures leading to more indoor gatherings, the novel coronavirus will likely continue to thrive through the holidays.
If your mind is made up, your heart is set on a family gathering during the holidays and you are willing to take on the risk, we’ve put together guidelines from experts on how to navigate the holidays as safely as possible*:
- First, decide who you will invite to your gathering. When choosing, consider whether each individual’s job is high risk or not. For example, if your cousin Annie works at a crowded bar or restaurant, perhaps it is best to skip inviting Annie. It may sound harsh, but safety is the priority. No one said hosting a get-together during a pandemic would be easy!
- If you are traveling to someone else’s home, the only truly safe way to get there is by taking your own car. Try to stop as little as possible and, instead, prepare by carrying plenty of food and water with you. Stopping at restaurants, gas stations or coffee shops adds risk.
- Learn more about where you’re going. Be sure to check the John Hopkins coronavirus tracker so you can ensure your destination has low coronavirus transmission rates. If it does not, you may want to reconsider your trip. On the flip-side, be mindful of who you are inviting and where they are coming from as well.
- Set ground rules. Ask your guests and family members to quarantine for 2 weeks prior to your gathering. You might even want to request that everyone planning to attend get a COVID test 1-2 days before arrival. Finally, flu shots are a good idea so you can avoid adding any other illness into the mix of things.
- Bonus Tip: If you’re planning to cook for your extended family, secure ingredients ahead of time. Between shortages due to the pandemic and the holiday frenzy, it may be difficult to find everything you need.
We hope these tips will help in keeping your family healthy and COVID-free. As always, the Parrish Law Firm recommends following all CDC guidelines found out on cdc.gov. As we close in on the race for a vaccine, we recommend now more than ever: wear your mask, practice social distancing and avoid partaking in activities that may increase risk or exposure. If you choose to stay home and avoid family get-togethers, think of the plus side — you and Uncle Rob won’t end up in a verbal brawl about the current political climate!
❄️ Happy Holidays! ❄️
* Please Note: The Parrish Law Firm, PLLC does not comprise of medical professionals or public health experts. The advice in the article is based on information provided by NPR, the CDC and the WHO.