Large gatherings for Thanksgiving and winter holidays could mean a sharp uptick in positive coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. Help honor our caregivers, first responders and patients by avoiding large gatherings this fall and winter by celebrating in a different way this year.
Here are a few tips to consider as you start your planning:
- Keep in-person celebrations as small as possible. Massachusetts has capped indoor gatherings at 10 or fewer people.
- Celebrate the holiday next spring when the weather is nicer and you can stay outdoors.
- Swap an indoor meal with an outdoor activity, such as hiking or gathering around a firepit.
- Get everyone in your household vaccinated against the flu.
- Consider a virtual celebration or event.
- Be aware of Massachusetts travel orders if you plan on leaving the state.
- Be especially mindful of the increased risks that COVID-19 poses for older individuals and those with chronic medical conditions.
- It isn’t safe to take patients home from the hospital for holidays unless a doctor has cleared them to do so. Instead, work with their care team to find ways to bring the holidays to them.
If meeting in person:
- Wear a mask when not eating or drinking. Encourage an ugly mask contest instead of an ugly sweater contest.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- Stay at least six feet apart from others. This is especially important when you’re eating and your mask is off.
- Improve ventilation by opening windows and doors whenever possible.
- Refrain from sharing utensils, drinks or food from the same plate with anyone not in your household. Designate one food server.
- As hard as it is, avoid shaking hands or hugging.
- Be aware that singing, dancing, laughing and shouting all increase chances of airborne transmission of COVID-19.
Throughout this unprecedented year, health care organizations and their workers have counted on everyone to do their part to keep their communities safe and healthy. Large gatherings have proven to create clusters of COVID-19 outbreaks. A series of these outbreaks around the holidays would seriously harm the health of our communities and could strain the capacity of our health care system.
Join the conversation. Share your ideas about staying safe and continuing the holiday fun this year.