The Inside Story on Holiday Safety

Redeemer Stories

November 16, 2020

The Inside Story on Holiday Safety

The Inside Story on Holiday Safety
As we continue to manage through these challenging times, especially with COVID-19 once again on the rise, you may be wondering how to best navigate holiday gatherings with friends and loved ones. Should I go? Is it safe? We have answers, along with some suggestions on how to delight in the glow of family and friends while staying safe.

Is a Small Gathering Safe?
It depends. Of course, virtual gatherings are your best option (see our fun suggestions below). For those who plan to gather for the holidays, the risk of exposure to or spread of the virus can increase when:

  • Guests have not practiced social distancing (six feet apart), masking that covers both the mouth and nose, and frequent hand washing before the gathering. And, of course, the same is true when during the gathering.
  • Out-of-town guests have spent time in transportation terminals and/or rest stops during travel.
  • The gathering is held indoors in a poorly ventilated space.
  • The host and guests live in areas that have high or increasing levels of COVID-19.

Consider downloading the PA Department of Health’s official mobile app, COVID Alert PA, which can alert you if you have been potentially exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19, as well as provide steps for controlling the spread of the virus and easy access to the latest COVID-19 facts and figures in Pennsylvania.

Still Gathering? Here's How to Do It Safely

  • Celebrate with members of your own household who consistently practice social distancing, proper masking, and frequent hand washing. A household is defined as persons who currently live and share common spaces in your home.
  • If hosting people from different households, ask them to avoid contact with people outside of their household for 14 days before attending your gathering. Keep in mind that health experts consider returning college students as being from a different household.
  • Set up the gathering so that each household group can remain at least six feet apart.
  • All guests should avoid direct contact including handshakes and hugs.
  • Do not let your pets interact with guests from other household groups.
  • Host the gathering outdoors as much as possible. Even when outdoors, remain vigilant about proper masking when not eating or drinking.
  • Try not to hold your gathering in crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.
  • When indoors, increase ventilation as much as you can by opening windows and doors or placing central air and heating on continuous circulation.
  • Avoid singing or shouting, especially when indoors.
  • Encourage frequent hand washing or use of hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available.
  • Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and shared items.
  • A single, masked person should serve all the food so multiple people aren’t handling serving utensils.

Holiday Love and Laughter—Virtually
You can still make wonderful memories with family and friends through any number of connection platforms, including Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, or Google Hangouts. Consider sharing love and laughter with your favorite peers by arranging for virtual holiday dinners, recipe swaps, or game nights. In fact, we’d love to hear your creative ideas about virtual celebrations. Please share them with us!

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