JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The majority of Americans do plan to take extra precautions at holiday gatherings such as social distancing and asking those with symptoms to not attend, according to a new survey from Ohio State University. But a third of people said they won’t ask guests to wear masks and nearly 20% said they expect to attend gatherings of more than 10 people.
That certainly not the advice being given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which released new recommendations on how to celebrate Thanksgiving while reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19.
In its updated guidelines, the agency said celebrating with people in your immediate household is the safest option. It also recommends a virtual celebration with friends and extended family.
For those that plan on hosting or attending a gathering, the CDC encouraged people to stay 6 feet apart and avoid hugs and handshakes, wear masks, and wash hands frequently. The CDC said smaller, outdoor gatherings are more low risk and if you are indoors, open the windows for extra ventilation.
Dr. Megan Brown, an emergency medicine physician at Memorial Hospital, suggested eating outside and bringing your own utensils, food and single-serve packets of condiments, like salad dressing.
“Try to limit the amount of people with exposure to food,” Brown said. “Keep windows open and make sure you are wearing a mask.”
If you plan on traveling for the holidays, Brown said to plan ahead and be prepared.
“Make sure you have your flu shot, so you are up to date on your vaccines,” she said. “Make sure you are wearing a mask, try not to touch your mask or face, have hand sanitizer with you, wash your hands frequently and stay 6 feet apart.”
For some safe ways to celebrate, the CDC recommends sharing recipes virtually with loved ones, watching parades on TV and online shopping ahead of Black Friday.