The last two months of the year are traditionally filled with gatherings and opportunities to celebrate and reconnect with family, friends and loved ones. Unfortunately, the year 2020 has been anything but a traditional year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With concerns over traveling, group gatherings, and in-person visits, it is important to reflect on how you plan to celebrate the upcoming holiday season safely.

Below are some useful tips that may decrease the chance of spreading COVID-19 and help keep your friends, families and communities healthy.

  1. Celebrate Virtually

    Hosting a virtual celebration using online video apps like Zoom, Skype or FaceTime pose the lowest risk for infection and spread of COVID-19. Plan activities for your online gathering. Consider sharing a favorite recipe or building an online album for exchanging holiday photos or videos with family. Schedule a time for everyone to share their meal together or stream a holiday movie.
  1. Gather Outdoors

    If possible, host your gathering outdoors. While being outdoors can reduce the risk of infection, it does not entirely eliminate it.  Even outside, it is important to wear masks and observe social distancing.
  1. Exercise Caution

    If you do plan to host or attend a holiday gathering, it is important to exercise caution and implement prevention measures. Always follow masking, hand hygiene and social distancing guidelines while hosting or attending a gathering. Hosts should limit the number of attendees as much as possible and contact between people from different households should be avoided.
  1. Shop Online

    Consider avoiding visiting stores by shopping online sales in the days leading up to the winter holidays. Many brands have announced virtual sales events this year. Alternatively, you can use contactless services for purchased items such as curbside pick-up.
  1. Avoid Travel

    According to the CDC, staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. If travel is unavoidable, the lowest-risk travel method is driving to your destination, making few or no stops along the way. Bring snacks and try to complete the trip in one day. Remember to check the state and local travel restrictions as well as the testing requirements, stay-at-home orders, and quarantine requirements of your destination area.