Celebrating Safely: Assessing COVID Risk This Holiday Season

Celebrating Safely: Assessing COVID Risk This Holiday Season

**See the latest CDC recommendations**

With the holidays upon us, many of us are trying to strike a balance between family traditions and protecting loved ones from COVID-19. The CDC notes that a combination of factors affect risk levels:

  • Woman hosting meal outside Photo by Askar Abayev from Pexels

    Infection Rates – Consider the number and rate of cases in the community in which you will celebrate and where guests are traveling from. If numbers are high in either, consider going virtual, moving the event outdoors or agreeing to quarantine ahead of the celebration.

  • Ventilation (outdoors over indoors) – Indoor gatherings generally pose more risk than outdoor gatherings, more so if there is poor ventilation. If you must gather inside, consider opening windows and doors. 
  • Event Duration – The longer the gathering, the higher the risk. 
  • Amount of Guests – More people = more risk. The CDC says to base the size of the gathering on the ability to limit contact between attendees, the risk of spread, and any applicable health and safety rules.
  • Behaviors at Event – Risk goes up if guests are not practicing good COVID practices (social distancing , mask wearing, hand washing, etc).

The CDC notes that celebrating with only household members, or virtually, is the safest bet. When that is not an option, strategies can include moving festivities outdoors; forming a “Quaranteam,” a small group of people who are only interacting with one another; or committing to a combination of testing (to rule out asymptomatic spread) with quarantining prior to a gathering. Visit occoq.org/cdc_holidays for the latest CDC guidance on minimizing risk this holiday season.