The holidays are coming up, but are they possible with COVID-19? The question that is being asked all around the world, is should we or should we not celebrate as usual? As COVID-19 continues to spike all across the states, it is becoming more and more important to avoid having large gatherings of people and to wear face masks in all public places.
On Oct. 19, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention came out with a nationwide statement on holiday gatherings and what type of plans should be made, these were not mandatory. CDC was informing those with concerns and giving ideas for ways to make the holidays possible during a time like this.
“When planning to host a holiday celebration, you should assess current COVID-19 levels in your community to determine whether to postpone, cancel, or limit the number of attendees,” the statement says. When assessing for a holiday celebration, the factors of who, when, and where are all a part of whether or not the celebration is safe.
There are many questions to ask. Who should be invited? Do you have an increased health risk? Do any guests have health concerns? Has everyone been self quarantining?
When making an invite list, all risks should be assessed. Do you have an increased risk of severe illness? Does anyone else have an increased risk of severe illness? Have you and the rest of the invitation list been self quarantining?
“For the holidays my family plans to go visit my mom’s dad in Pendleton but with all the changes it is still up in the air,” junior Ashley Allinger said. COVID-19 concerns are in the back of everyone’s head asking themselves if they should or should not gather for the holidays.
“Do not host or participate in any in-person festivities if you or anyone in your household, has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and has not met the criteria for when it is safe to be around others, has symptoms of COVID-19, is waiting for COVID-19 viral test results, may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, is at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19,” the CDC statement said.
When should a holiday celebration be held? For many, Thanksgiving and Christmas are times of big gatherings to celebrate with family and friends. For safety reasons, those celebrations can be postponed if not everyone is COVID-19 free or has any health concerns. It is recommended to be postponed or for the invite list to be smaller or with only household members.
“My family has never really done too much during Thanksgiving and Christmas, we have quite the small circle. For this year it won’t change as much, we will still have our family dinner and watch movies,” senior Ashley Alex said.
Where can these celebrations take place? If you are planning to have holiday gatherings, the CDC recommends outdoor activities where social distancing is possible. When hosting a gathering outdoor events are highly recommended. If mandatory to host an indoor event, avoiding crowded and poorly ventilated indoor spaces. Choose a place with a large space allowing for indoor social distancing.
“This year for the holidays is obviously different, my family will be moving into a new house. We will spend Thanksgiving at our current home, and then spend Christmas in our new home. We don’t have any big plans this year- which is unusual,” senior Skyla Harper said. Keeping groups and holiday gatherings casual can also help with a reduced risk of COVID-19.
The CDC is asking everyone who is going to have a holiday gathering to self quarantine for 14 days before the event. Although it is not mandatory, it is recommended to keep yourself and those around you safe during COVID-19. Take all precautions, be safe and stay healthy.