Tips for Safe Holiday Gatherings
“Coping with Holidays During COVID-19”
Read article by Ann-Marie Sabrsula, M.A., education coordinator
The Children’s School for Early Development
As many people in the United States begin to plan for fall and winter holiday celebrations and family gatherings, here are some tips to help you protect your loved ones, as well as other members of our community from COVID-19.
Traditional holiday gatherings with family and friends can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu. Please follow some of the guidelines below to keep your family and our communities safe.
Wear a Mask
- Wear a mask with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19.
- Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
- Make sure the mask fits snugly against the sides of your face.
Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you
- Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread COVID-19 or flu.
- Keeping 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
Wash your hands
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Keep hand sanitizer with you and use it when you are unable to wash your hands.
- Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Attending a Gathering
Make your celebration safer. In addition to following the steps that everyone can take to make Thanksgiving safer, take these additional steps while attending a Thanksgiving gathering.
- Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.
- Wear a mask, and safely store your mask while eating and drinking.
- Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen.
- Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates, and utensils.
Hosting a Family Gathering
If having guests to your home, be sure that people follow the steps that everyone can take to make Thanksgiving safer. Other steps you can take include:
- Have a small outdoor meal with family and friends who live in your community.
- Limit the number of guests.
- Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
- If celebrating indoors, make sure to open windows.
- Limit the number of people in food preparation areas.
- Have guests bring their own food and drink.
- If sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils.
Holiday Travel (View latest travel advisories)
Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. If you do travel:
- Check travel restrictions before you go.
- Get your flu shot before you travel.
- Always wear a mask in public settings and on public transportation.
- Stay at least 6 feet apart from anyone who is not in your household.
- Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Bring extra supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer.
Other Ways to Celebrate
Host a virtual Thanksgiving meal with friends and family who don’t live with you.
- Schedule a time to share a meal together virtually.
- Have people share recipes and show their turkey, dressing, or other dishes they prepared.
Check out our latest COVID-19 Updates regarding:
- Day Services
- Residential Services
- Children’s School for Early Development
- Latest information from New York State Department of Health