How to Navigate the Holiday Season During a Pandemic


Tatiana Joseph-Saunders, Culture Reporter

As we approach the holiday season, it is completely reasonable and even expected for you to be worried about the pandemic. Sure, you may know the basic regulations and recommendations from health officials like social distancing and wearing a mask, but is there anything else?


The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently updated their site and their page speaking on holiday gatherings and small gatherings. On this specific page, a highlighted note is at the front… “More than 1 million COVID-19 cases were reported in the United States over the last 7 days. As cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with.” So, if you and your family are strictly following guidelines this year, you should only be spending the holidays with people you live with. This means no inviting extended family, or friends from school, or even family that lives near you guys.


Further into the site, you see the specific ‘considerations’ of the CDC: 

  1. The community levels of COVID-19: This means taking into account how COVID-19 is affecting your surrounding community. Whether or not you are spending Thanksgiving in a high-risk area, or if your area is going through a spike at the moment. 
  2. Exposure during travel: This point focuses on the traveling aspect of the holiday season, and how risky those methods are during the pandemic. Airports, bus and train stations, gas stations and rest stops are places where travelers can easily pick up the virus. 
  3. The location and duration of the gathering: Indoor gatherings paired with poor air ventilation raise the risk of contracting Covid, as well as gatherings lasting longer than 15 minutes. 
  4. The number and crowding of the gathering: How many people will be at the gathering and how well can they stay 6 feet apart? This is what the CDC is calling on people to think about when this holiday season. 
  5. Behavior of the attendees: The CDC is really recommending hosts to take into consideration how well the guests have been adhering to Covid guidelines prior to gathering and also how they behave during the gathering. Gatherings that maintain safety measure have a less of a risk of spreading the virus.


What about the food and drinks at said gatherings? The CDC has thoughts for those things too!

They recommended that hosts encourage guests to bring their own food and drink to minimize the spread. There should also be one person serving food with a mask, so there won’t be multiple people around the serving utensils, according to the CDC. One interesting thing that they mentioned that would have never crossed my mind was a recommendation for a no-touch trash can for guest. Smart, right?


The next section of the article goes over some questions those traveling for the holidays should consider; Does anyone you’re visiting has an increased health risk if they contract COVID-19? Are cases increasing where you’re leaving from or where you’re going to? Etc. 


Next in the article, there is a section on staying overnight during the holiday season. There are typical recommendations like utilizing the outdoors for gatherings and ensuring there’s efficient ventilation.

Please stay safe this holiday season, this virus does not just affect you if you’re positive, it affects everyone you come into contact with. If you are interested in a more specific, Thanksgiving edition of CDC recommendations, here’s their site.