Tips and Strategies to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones from COVID 19 This Holiday Season
Holiday Season 2020 is shaping up to be a lot like the rest of this year – nothing like we’ve ever experienced before.
Normally around this time of year you have people excited about getting together with their friends, family members, and loved ones to celebrate the holidays. It’s tough to beat the energy in the air around the holidays, with people friendlier and more giving during the holidays than any other time throughout the year.
Unfortunately, with COVID 19 continuing to tear through the country, it’s doesn’t look like those kinds of traditional gatherings are a smart idea.
A number of public health officials have gone on the record stating that traditional holiday gatherings could become super spreader events, triggering another wave of coronavirus spikes, and prolonging the wide reaching impact of the coronavirus.
At the same time, these public health officials recognize that the people of the United States (like citizens all over the world) have grown extremely fatigued with everything coronavirus.
People today are more resistant to the idea of lockdowns than ever before, so much so that we have seen widespread rioting in countries around the world as pushback against governments that seek to implement these kind of mandates.
Thankfully, the World Health Organization in the CDC are both in agreement that lockdowns – particularly long-term lockdowns – are an ineffective solution when it comes to controlling the coronavirus.
At the same time, the experts do not suggest that we throw caution to the wind completely and abandon all of the preventative steps we’ve taken to keep coronavirus in check.
Below we highlight a handful of the most common recommendations made by pandemic experts from around the world to help make your holiday gatherings as safe as possible.
Do your best to implement as many of these into your gathering as you can and you’ll be able to have a safer and much more stress-free holiday season for sure.
Keep Things Outside When Possible
We know a lot more about the coronavirus today than ever before, and one thing almost all experts agree on is that the virus really struggles to be transmitted when people are gathered outdoors.
If at all possible (this can be tough to pull off in the northern parts of the United States during holiday season) try to keep your gathering limited to outdoor spaces.
Keep Distance When Possible
It is unreasonable and unrealistic to expect people gathering for the holidays to stay completely distanced from one another throughout the entirety of a gathering, but do your level best to minimize person-to-person contact as much as you all can.
Try to keep six feet from everyone and stay socially distant, especially if you’re having guests from other households or from other places around the country. Make sure that everyone at risk or older has a safe space to enjoy the gathering at as well.
Keep Things Small
Some states (like California) are trying to mandate that all holiday parties stay limited to no more than 10 people, but constitutionality questions aside, it’s likely that families are going to host larger gatherings them that during the holiday season.
You try and keep your gathering as small as possible, though. Limit outside exposure to other households and to people that may be coming from high risk areas. It might not be a bad idea to consider virtual gatherings from some of your guests, too.
Maintain Good Mask Discipline
The virus does not discriminate based on the wholesomeness of a gathering which is why it’s important to make sure that your guests maintain good mask discipline.
While wearing masks 100% of the time at a holiday gathering probably isn’t realistic (especially when food and drinks will be served), but encourage all of your guests to wear their masks whenever possible all the same.
The idea here is to minimize risks as much as you all can, keeping yourself and all of your loved ones safe and protected.
Celebrate – But Be Smart About It
Experts agree that the world really isn’t interested in hearing about lockdowns, mandates, and other extreme steps involving “canceling” holidays during this special time of year – but that doesn’t mean that we should be cavalier about the coronavirus over the holidays, either.
As an epidemiologist from Columbia University named Sandra Albrecht put it recently, we all need a reason to celebrate this year (especially this year) but we have to be smart and we have to be safe.
Indoor gatherings around the holidays naturally bring people from all over together, with people wanting to reach out and hug loved ones that they haven’t seen in a while – especially during a year that has been as hard as 2020 has been.
Singing, shouting, and laughing in close proximity to other people is also obviously likely to occur at these kinds of events, and then you mix alcohol into the equation and all of a sudden the last thing anyone thinking about is the coronavirus.
Maybe that’s a good thing, at least for our mental health, giving us a chance to get away from all the stress and pressure of 2020 even if it’s only for a short while.
At the same time, the last thing you or your loved ones want to do is have a quick respite from the craziness of 2020 just to find out that someone’s life has been put in danger for a party.
Truth be told, it’s absolutely impossible to guarantee that any holiday gathering this year is going to be 100% safe and 100% secure.
That’s just not the way things work in the middle of a pandemic.
On the flip side of things, nothing in life is really 100% safe and 100% secure. There is risk involved in every decision we ever make.
It’s your responsibility to make sure that you eliminate as much of that risk as possible if you are committed to having a holiday gathering, not just for yourself but for each and every one of your guests.
Do your level best to keep things small, to keep things distanced, and to wear masks while having as much of the event outdoors as possible.
At the same time, enjoy your loved ones, enjoy the holidays, and take a little bit of time to remember that while 2020 has been particularly tough and divisive we are all in this together. Better days are around the corner!