Celebrating The Holidays Safely

As many begin to plan for fall and winter holiday celebrations, the Dubuque County Public Health Incident Management Team offers the following considerations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help protect individuals and their families, friends, and communities from COVID-19.

There are several factors that contribute to the risk of becoming infected or infecting others with COVID-19 at a holiday celebration. Consider the following when deciding to host or attend a holiday gathering:

  • Community levels of COVID-19 – Family and friends should consider the number and rate of COVID-19 cases in their community and in the community where they plan to celebrate when considering whether to host or attend a holiday celebration.
  • The location of the gathering – Indoor gatherings generally pose more risk than outdoor gatherings.
  • The duration of the gathering – Gatherings that last longer pose more risk than shorter gatherings.
  • The number of people at the gathering – Gatherings with more people pose more risk than gatherings with fewer people.
  • The locations attendees are traveling from – Gatherings with attendees who are traveling from different places pose a higher risk than gatherings with attendees who live in the same area.
  • The behaviors of attendees prior to the gathering – Gatherings with attendees who are not adhering to social distancing (staying at least 6 feet apart), mask wearing, hand washing, and other prevention behaviors pose more risk than gatherings with attendees who are engaging in these preventative behaviors.
  • The behaviors of attendees during the gathering – Gatherings with more preventive measures, such as mask wearing, social distancing, and hand washing, pose less risk than gatherings where fewer or no preventive measures are being implemented.
picture of a virtual holiday celebration

Celebrating in alternative ways can help reduce the spread of COVID-19. The CDC recommends the following lower-risk activities as ways to safely celebrate the upcoming holidays:

  • Having a small dinner with only people who live in your household.
  • Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others.
  • Having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family.
  • Shopping online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving or the next Monday.
  • Watching sports events, parades, and movies from home.

Avoid higher-risk activities like shopping in crowded stores, attending or participating in crowded races or parades, or attending large indoor gatherings with people who do not live with you.

Further considerations on how to safely celebrate the holidays can be found on the CDC’s website.