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Think twice...and stay safe for the holidays

Think twice...and stay safe for the holidays

The U.S. and California are entering a dangerous period for the spread of COVID.

People are at the greatest risk of contracting COVID not from strangers but from extended family members and friends, including those who have the illness and do not know it. Plus, people are more likely to have close contact with friends and family for a longer period of time, increasing the risk for COVID spread.

In view of the recent surge of cases, local health experts urge families to only hold indoor Thanksgiving and holiday celebrations with people from their immediate household this season in order to protect themselves from COVID.

See below for ideas on virtual and safe celebrating and gathering with family and friends.

If you will gather with extended family and friends from outside your immediate household, please follow these safety rules from the L.A. County Dept. of Public Health:

  • Celebrate outdoors with only two other households. If you need to be indoors, this should only happen with members of your immediate household. This is particularly important since people take off their face coverings while eating and drinking, which increases the risk for COVID spread.
  • Keep your visit short. The longer the duration, the greater the risk of transmission.
  • Physical distancing and hand hygiene. The outdoor space must be large enough so that everyone can maintain at least a 6-foot distance from those outside their household. A place to wash hands or hand sanitizer must be available.
  • Cautions about food from shared containers. As much as possible, any food or beverages at multiple family gatherings should be in single-serve containers. If not possible, food and drinks should be served by someone who sanitizes their hands frequently and wears a face covering over their nose and mouth. Self-service buffet areas are dangerous in these settings.
  • Travel. The State of California has instituted Travel Restrictions which call for a 14-day quarantine for people coming into California after any non-essential travel out of the state or country.

Ideas for virtual and socially distanced gatherings

  • Have a video conference or phone call with family and friends.
  • Play an online game with family or friends. Talk on the phone while you play. Some classics are available online, like Scrabble/Words With Friends, Monopoly and Clue.
  • Drive by a friend or family member’s house. Leave a safely-prepared food item on their front porch. Have a conversation from a safe distance away. Remember the louder you talk or yell, the more you exhale. So it’s safest to stay even further than 6’ away.

Let's all stay healthy (and not make any careless mistakes) this holiday season. Anytime a person removes their mask and interacts in close distance with others not in their household, even outdoors, they risk either infecting another person or becoming infected themselves. 

There’s been good news recently about the development of COVID vaccines that have a high effectiveness rate in research so far.

But it will likely be the summer or fall of 2021 until those vaccines are finalized, manufactured and distributed to all of us in the general public. So we have to stay safe from COVID until then!

When we’re this close to the finish line now, let’s not let our guard down. We want to make it all the way through to the end of this pandemic and beyond!