The holidays are typically a time food, family, and fun. This year looks a little bit different due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. What is safe, and how can you celebrate and stay healthy?
- Guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) can help you decide what is best for yourself and your loved ones.
- Use the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) Risk/Benefit Guide to help guide decision-making. In addition to the specifics on that guide, the CDC recommends consideration of:
- Community levels of COVID-19 – Ohio’s Public Health Advisory Map can be found here. If there are many COVID-19 cases in an area, this means there is a higher infection risk. It is essential to consider where you will be celebrating and where the other attendees are traveling from.
- Exposure during travel – Airports, bus stations, train stations, public transport, gas stations, and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces.
- Location – Consider indoor vs. outdoor and public vs. private, and the rate of community spread in the area. Outdoor activities are safer than indoor activities. If participating in an outdoor event is not possible, and you choose to attend an indoor event, be sure to avoid crowded, poorly ventilated, and enclosed indoor spaces. Increase ventilation by opening windows and doors to the extent that it is possible based on the weather.
- Duration – Events that last longer pose more risk than shorter gatherings.
- Number of people – Gatherings with more people pose more risk than those with fewer people. The bigger the crowd, the riskier the event could be. Keep your guest list short to allow for proper social distancing. If the guest list feels too long, it may be wise to miss the event or attend virtually.
- Prior behaviors of attendees – People who did not consistently adhere to social distancing (staying at least six feet apart), mask-wearing, hand washing, and other prevention behaviors pose more risk than those who always practiced these safety measures.
- Behaviors of attendees during the gathering – Attendees should engage in mask-wearing, social distancing, and hand washing. The use of alcohol or drugs may alter judgement and make it challenging to practice COVID-19 safety measures.
- Check with the event host, organizer, or event venue for updated information about any COVID-19 safety guidelines and if they have steps in placeto prevent the spread of the virus.
- Bring supplies to help you and others stay healthy. For example
- extra masks (do not share or swap with others),
- hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol,
- tissues, and
- bring your food and disposable dishes if you gather with people outside of your immediate household.
- Stay home if you or anyone in your home has symptoms – If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or other illnesses, avoid traveling and close contact with others.
- Wear a mask when around people that you do not live with – This may feel difficult as you may need to wear a mask around people you love, including friends and family that reside in different households.
- Hygiene – It is important to practice frequent hand washing and disinfecting. Stay six feet apart. Whenever possible, maintain a safe distancing, hand washing, and mask-wearing. This is true for both before, during, and after the celebration. Failure to follow these safety precautions may pose a greater risk.