As the U.S. continues to experience an uptick in COVID-19 cases, it’s crucial that Americans continue to take precautions to mitigate the spread of coronavirus and keep those who are at a higher risk of severe health complications safe. Unfortunately, that may mean canceling holiday gatherings altogether this year.
To help Americans play it safe and smart this holiday season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a set of recommendations to consider—especially if you plan to host or attend in-person gatherings with family or friends this Thanksgiving. Start by assessing community levels of COVID-19 infection in the gathering location, as well as the locations attendees are traveling from.
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Limit the number of people you invite to dinner
The CDC highly recommends keeping in-person gatherings small, because they pose less risk than larger get-togethers. If possible, socialize in an outdoor space. If indoors is the only feasible route, the agency recommends avoiding crowded, fully enclosed, and poorly ventilated spaces.
“Some people in this country are going to be able to have a relatively normal type of a Thanksgiving, but in other areas of the country, it’s going to be, ‘You better hold off. And maybe just have immediate family. And make sure you do it in a way that people wear masks and you don’t have large crowds of people,'” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with CNN.
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Consider wearing a mask the whole time
Additional precautions such as wearing masks throughout the duration of the gathering is a great way to keep your loved ones safe. The CDC recommends you store your mask in a clean paper or mesh fabric bag as you’re eating. Remember to wear the mask with the same side facing out as before.
Wash your hands
Before and after serving food be sure to wash your hands with soap and warm water. Aside from eating, make it a point to routinely wash your hands throughout the gathering. Avoid touching your face, and try to stand 6 feet apart from anyone outside of your household.
Keep the windows open
Another precaution that’s highly encouraged is opening windows and doors to allow fresh air to flow freely in and out of your home. Consider putting a window fan in one of the open windows to help facilitate this process.
Deliver meals to those outside of your household
Instead of inviting people from outside of your household indoors, consider packing a meal for them and dropping it off directly on their doorstep. Deliver the meal in disposable kitchenware if possible.
Bottom line: The more precautions you take, the safer you and your loved ones will be this holiday season.
For more advice, read the CDC’s full list of considerations here and be sure to check out 5 Best Thanksgiving Dinner Tips From a Celeb Chef.