The holidays are going to look different this year, but extra precautions can help you and your family celebrate the season safely. As COVID-19 cases are surging throughout Connecticut and nationwide, holiday celebrations with large groups of people should be avoided. Richard Martinello, MD, Medical Director of Infection Prevention, answers some frequently asked questions.

Is it safe to go to holiday parties?

No. We need to avoid activities that encourage gatherings of large groups. We have already seen examples of parties leading to the spread of COVID-19.

Who can come to Thanksgiving dinner?

The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to keep the guest list to immediate family members who live within your home. If you decide to invite one or two other people, it’s safest to celebrate outdoors. If it’s too cold, make sure people are keeping their distance inside and wearing masks whenever possible.

 

Thanksgiving during COVID

 

Can I host a family football game on Thanksgiving?

Touch or flag football games puts people in close proximity to each other, so it’s not considered to be a safe activity this year. Playing catch is a great alternative.

Can I go shopping on Black Friday?

It’s difficult for people to maintain their distance inside crowded stores, so unfortunately it’s not a good idea this year. Try shopping online instead.

 

Holiday shopping online

 

Can I host a potluck?

It is safe to have a potluck where different family members bring a dish and share it with others. Just be sure to do it in a way where people can maintain their distance from each other. But sharing those dishes by themselves is not a risk.

What are some safe holiday activities I can do?

Spending more time outside is a great idea. Avoid caroling because singing has been shown to have a real risk of spreading COVID-19. But going for a hike or bike ride is fine because you can keep your distance from others. Cutting down a Christmas tree is also a tradition for many families. That’s safe to do as well, because everyone can wear masks.

 

holiday zoom call

 

It will be tough to avoid some traditions this year, so try and check up on loved ones that you won’t be able to see in person. Schedule holiday zoom calls, or even make a holiday treat for a friend and deliver it to their front step. Whether you’re celebrating a holiday or not, it’s important for us all to wear masks and keep hands clean.