Washington County, Iowa – The winter holidays are almost upon us, and this year the festivities will require even more planning than most. Everyone is yearning for more normalcy and that includes getting together in-person. However, we have to stay united in making sure celebrations do not put us and our loved ones at a higher risk of acquiring COVID-19.
Unfortunately, traditional plans of getting 40 loved ones together at someone’s house is not at the top of the “least risky” list. Staying home and participating in virtual celebrations is the best way to protect yourself and others. If you must travel and get together in-person with loved ones, be informed of the risks involved.
Planners, now is your time to shine. Careful planning this holiday season can help lessen your risk for contracting and spreading COVID-19. Discuss the following with your family and friends to thoroughly prepare for festive celebrations.
- Make a pact with family and friends to:
- Limit the number invited.
- Stay home if anyone is feeling the slightest bit ill, awaiting test results, or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
- Gather outdoors if at all possible. Bring warm clothes and bundle up.
- Make sure the gathering location allows for enough space between people.
- Open windows to improve air flow.
- Determine a seating plan ahead of time to keep six feet between each household.
- Do not use shared serving utensils.
- Wear masks while together.
- Have plenty of paper towels, soap and hand sanitizer available.
- If traveling consider the following:
- Cancel plans or trips if someone isn’t feeling well, is awaiting test results or has been exposed. It may be disappointing, but it is for the safety of your loved ones.
- Avoid larger crowds, including mass transit.
- Pick another time of year to travel when it is less likely to be busy or congested.
- Before you make any travel-related purchases or bookings, learn about the company’s COVID-19 prevention efforts and cancellation or refund policies..
- If traveling solo or by personal vehicle, bring hand sanitizer to use after stopping for breaks, and do not travel with those outside of your immediate household. If you must, wear masks and crack the windows.
Black Friday sales bring large crowds. Consider online shopping or patronizing local shops when they are less busy. Be sure to ask what safety precautions the business is taking.
Remember, there is a higher risk of spreading COVID-19 as groups get larger and closer together, and gather for longer timeframes, especially while indoors.
Always keep the following in mind:
- If you feel ill at all, or you have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19, stay home. Paying close attention to any symptoms and how you are feeling is so important right now.
- Wear a mask over your mouth and nose that is tight fitting and more than one layer.
- Avoid small spaces that do not allow for distancing of six feet.
- Stay at least six feet away from those who do not live in your home.
- Wash or sanitize your hands often. Get your flu shot. It is important to get one each year, but if there were ever a time to get one, it’s now.
Visit the following sites for more information.
CDC Holiday celebrations during COVID-19