How to Have a COVID-19 Friendly Family Gathering.
Who to invite? Whether to travel or not? How to keep everyone safe? This year’s holiday celebrations pose greater challenges than ever due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
To make staying healthy a little easier, we’ve put together a list of ways to keep you and your loved ones safe. Follow these COVID-19 gathering restrictions to help make sure your good health is one of the many gifts you can celebrate this holiday season.
Keep It in the Family
If you plan to host a holiday event, choose the right COVID-19 gathering size. Limit gatherings to small groups rather than large ones. Ideally, during COVID-19, the gathering size should be limited to only those within your immediate household. If that’s not possible, limit gatherings to those you trust to be COVID-19 safe. Make sure all guests have been following social distancing guidelines, wearing masks, and are currently healthy.
Kindly request that anyone who has been sick or exposed to COVID-19 in the past 14 days stay home. The same goes for those who might expose someone they live with who’s at high risk. You may also want to keep a list of everyone who attends in case it’s needed later for contact tracing.
If you’re attending a holiday event, ask your host about the gathering size and what COVID-19 prevention measures are in place.
Spread Good Cheer, Not Germs
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, consider hosting your holiday gathering at home, preferably outdoors. When greeting guests, wave or offer voice greetings instead of hugging, bumping elbows, or shaking hands, and encourage others to do the same.
As always, it’s important to wear a mask, except while eating. If hosting, ask guests to bring masks with them, or consider providing masks to ensure everyone complies.
Select seating and standing areas that allow guests to adhere to COVID-19 gathering restrictions. For example, if you’re hosting a gathering at home, space tables at least six feet apart, and avoid placing those from different households at the same table.
Stagger guest arrival times to avoid crowding in entryways, and discourage guests from gathering in hallways, lines outside restrooms, or other congested areas.
Clean-Up Begins Before the Meal.
Frequent hand washing is one of the most effective gathering rules for preventing COVID-19. When hosting, make sure there are plenty of hand-washing stations spaced throughout your venue and that each station is well-stocked with soap and single-use paper towels, or a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
Encourage your guests to clean up upon arrival, as well as before and after dinner. You may also want to place cleaning supplies in hand-washing areas to encourage guests to wipe down surfaces after use.
If you’re attending a gathering, make sure there’s sufficient soap and a way to dry your hands, or that there’s an adequate supply of hand sanitizer available, before using the restroom.
Take COVID-19 Off the Menu
Hosts should consider limiting the number of people serving and handling food at gatherings, as well as limiting those entering and exiting food prep areas. Consider offering single-use options of salad dressings, condiments, and food containers. Otherwise, it’s best to appoint one person to serve these items in order to limit contact.
If dining at a restaurant, avoid buffets where serving utensils will be shared, and stay away from frequently touched items, such as self-serve condiments and salad dressings, touchscreens, and beverage dispensers.
Take Travel Off the Menu
It’s best to celebrate near home this holiday season. If you must travel, however, check out hotel accommodations online before you check in. See what additional cleaning and disinfection policies are in place, and note whether these include frequently touched surfaces such as door knobs, elevator buttons, pens, phones, tables, light switches, and payment stations. Ask whether the hotel offers mobile room keys, contactless payment options, and contactless room service.
Other signs that indicate a hotel is taking appropriate precautions include plexiglass barriers at check-in counters and clearly marked physical distancing signs in lobbies and common areas. It’s best to avoid hotel spas, pools, fitness centers, business centers, and other multi-use areas altogether at this time.
Eat, Drink, and Be Safe This Holiday Season
Those of us at MD Now hope you and your loved ones follow these COVID-19 gathering restrictions and stay safe and healthy over the holidays. If you should require urgent care, however, you can take comfort in knowing that our team will be on hand extended hours, seven days a week, including holidays.
Covid-19 Evaluations and Testing
In the event you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or if you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, MD Now is also offering COVID-19 evaluations and testing at all locations. Simply find your nearest clinic and check-in online or walk-in today.