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Drew: Safely celebrating Christmas during a pandemic

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By Samuetta Hill Drew

The past safety articles have been sharing various suggestions on how one could celebrate the holidays safely during a pandemic.  Three common recommendations remain consistent – wear mask whether indoors or outdoors except when eating or drinking; practice stringent social distancing and wash your hands often or use the proper hand sanitizer with the recommended alcohol content. The past two articles explored who is considered high risk for possibly contracting COVID-19 so everyone would know what safety precautions to take.

Celebrating at home has consistently been the primary recommendation with those who live daily in your household. For those hosting or attending a holiday gathering, further recommendations addressing the size of the gatherings – which should be small, and the invited guests preferably should be those living in your household currently. Any others, including your child home from college, are considered outside your bubble and household COVID-19 safety guidelines should be determined and practiced.

This week’s article will focus on the actual Christmas Day celebration. Note – depending upon your household location, additional COVID-19 guidelines and/or governmental or tribal restrictions may be in place due to the high number of COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.

A major concern during the holiday season is coronavirus spread related to dinner parties, with households moving into tight quarters with friends or family that do not live in their home. Many states, like Michigan and Washington, have instituted new state-mandated guidelines about holiday gatherings. California has banned parties or dinners outright for the next month.

So, what safety measures should you follow to keep you, your family and/or friends safe if you do not reside in these states?

 

  • As the host, determine how many people are invited and if your space is large enough to allow social distancing inside?
  • How will your guests travel to your home? Public transportation or private vehicle? If private vehicle, how many people are riding together and are they from different households?
  • How long do you plan to have them inside your home?
  • If you plan to host beyond a single evening, where will they live in your home?
  • Does it require you to share a bedroom or a bathroom?
  • Create seating arrangements that put as much distance between your household and your guests, even a separate table if you can. If possible, outside is best and can alleviate much risk.
  • Skip family style or buffet-like set up this year. Have only one person designated as the runner or server, so that most everyone remains seated during dinner.
  • Continue to wear your mask when you are not eating or drinking, practice stringent social distancing, and wash hands frequently.
  • Consider leaving disinfecting wipes or spray in your bathroom.
  • Sitting down for a television special or for a quiet conversation before or after dinner is not an automatic no this year, but you should not engage in singing, shouting or game night where you need to share cards or pieces.

To help Keep an Eye on Safety it is important for you to practice these and others, if needed, COVID-19 guidelines when celebrating.  Where no guidelines can positively ensure that you or love ones will not contract COVID-19, they can help decrease the risk if practiced effectively.