For most of this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost every aspect of our lives, and, unfortunately, it will do the same to many families this holiday season.
We thrive on connections with one another, and COVID-19 has required physically distancing in ways that make it hard to connect socially. If we think staying away from loved ones has been difficult all year, the upcoming holiday season will make this reality even more of a challenge. People are being encouraged not to travel and, instead, stay home to celebrate without visitors.
On holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s understandable that people are trying to find ways to socialize safely in the same spaces. But with community spread contributing to the latest coronavirus spike across the country, safe spaces might not be possible. We have even seen multiple cases of COVID-19 transmission among people who tried to social distance outdoors. Despite our best efforts, it will be almost impossible to maintain COVID-19 precautions at holiday gatherings—and that’s if we give it our best efforts.
To keep our families safe, and if you can’t stay away from loved ones, consider the following when making decisions about how to connect with others and help one another find ways to foster those connections safely:
- People are most contagious for COVID-19 just prior to symptom onset. So those who look and act completely healthy could actually be highly contagious for the virus.
- Whenever food and drink are served, people cannot wear masks, and this increases the risk of transmission.
- When people need to speak loudly because of physical distance or background noise, virus droplets travel farther than usual.
- Alcohol relaxes inhibitions and contributes to louder talking and lapses in distancing and proper mask wearing.
- Transmission occurs outdoors as well as indoors.