Protecting Your Family During Holiday Gatherings

November 24, 2020

Celebrating the winter holidays during the COVID-19 pandemic is going to require additional measures to keep everyone in your household safe and mitigate the spread of the virus. For the purposes of these guidelines, consider those in your household as the people who currently live in your housing unit, even if they are unrelated to you. College students who are returning home from school for the holidays should not be considered part of your household. 

Organizers and attendees of events or gatherings should consider the risk of viral spread and take steps to reduce the possibility of infection. The following guidelines are meant to supplement any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations, not replace them. Based on the current conditions and infection numbers, organizers should continue to assess whether to postpone, cancel, or significantly reduce the number of attendees for gatherings.

Main Risk Factors

  • COVID-19 levels in the area.High or increasing levels of COVID-19 cases in the gathering location increase the risk of infection and spread among attendees.
  • Exposure during travel. Airports, bus and train stations, public transport, gas stations, and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus.
  • Location of the gathering. Indoor gatherings, especially those with poor ventilation, pose more risk than outdoor gatherings.
  • Duration of the gathering. Longer gatherings pose more risk than shorter gatherings.
  • Number and crowding of people at the gathering. Gatherings with more people pose more risk than gatherings with fewer people. Attendees from different households should stay6' apart, wear masks, and wash hands.
  • Behaviors of attendeesprior to the gathering. Individuals who have not consistently engaged in prevention behaviors pose a higher risk.

Methods of Minimizing Risk

  • Stay home when appropriate. Anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, currently shows symptoms, is waiting for test results, or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should not attend.
  • Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. Encourage attendees towash hands often and cover coughs and sneezes. Also avoid handshakes, fist bumps
  • Wear masks.Require attendees ahead of the event to bring and usemasks at the event.
  • Frequent cleaning. Clean and disinfect bathrooms and frequently touched surfaces between uses as much as possible (door handles, sink handles, hand railings, etc).
  • Modify layouts. In additionto limiting attendance, change the seating layout or so that people can remain at least 6'apart.
  • Serving food. There is no evidence that COVID-19 is spread by food, but sharing utensils and congregating around food service areas can pose a risk. Use disposable food service items including utensils and dishes, if possible. Discourage people from sharing items that are difficult to clean, sanitize, or disinfect.

FaciliSafety wishes you and your loved ones a happy and safe holiday season. If you have any questions about how you can best prepare yourself for an upcoming event, please call your local FaciliSafety service rep today.

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