Tips for celebrating Thanksgiving safely during the COVID-19 pandemic

As the holiday season approaches, most people are facing questions of how to celebrate safely. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers several suggestions to help you plan.
 
When considering your Thanksgiving and other holiday celebrations, try to avoid thinking of risk as a risky/not risky binary. Different gatherings pose different levels of risk. Obviously, a virtual gathering or one that includes only members of your own household are the lowest risk options. But in-person gatherings come with other factors to consider:

  • How high are the community levels of COVID-19 in your area and in the areas your guests are from?
  • How many people – and from how many different households – will be attending?
  • Where will the gathering take place? If you will be indoors, can you open windows?
  • How long will the gathering be? A short get-together poses less risk than an hours-long affair.
  • What has been the behavior of attendees prior to the gathering? Has everyone been adhering to physical distancing, mask wearing, hand washing and other preventative behaviors?
  • What will behavior be during the gathering? Is everyone willing to wear a mask and physically distance?

In general, the CDC strongly recommends those who have been diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19 stay at home and away from others. People who are at an increased risk for severe illness should also avoid in-person gatherings with those who are not in their household.
 
Regardless of your personal risk factors, if you do plan to host or attend in-person holiday get-togethers, you should consider strictly avoiding contact with people outside your household for 14 days before the gathering. You should also consider avoiding contact with others for 14 days after the gathering and monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.
 
It is also important to acknowledge that it can be difficult to miss out on or alter valued family traditions. Please be sure to take care of your mental health, and never hesitate to contact LCC’s free, confidential Employee Assistance Program.
 
Learn more from the CDC about safely celebrating holidays.