A family safely celebrating the holidays during COVID-19.
Healthy Living

Hosting or Attending a Holiday Gathering During COVID-19

Dec 16 2021

If you are hosting or attending a holiday gathering during this time, take precautions to protect the people you love.

People are still getting sick, being hospitalized and dying from COVID-19.

Here are some tips to help keep everyone safe.

Plan the guest list wisely

Consider keeping guest lists to people who are fully vaccinated or those who are willing to wear a mask if they are unvaccinated. Also, remember that neither you nor your guests should attend if they don’t feel well or think they may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Keep a list of guests. If someone does come down with the virus, you’ll be able to assist with contact tracing and let other guests know they’ve been exposed. If you’re thinking of attending a gathering, consider if you know what the other guests have been up to.

Provide masks and hand sanitizer

Party favors may look a little different during a pandemic. If you have guests attending who are not fully vaccinated, provide them with face masks to wear, except while actively eating or drinking. Hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies should also be on hand. If you’re a guest at a gathering, you could bring extra masks and supplies for people who may not have them.

As a host or guest, plan to be fully vaccinated to best keep your loved ones safe.

Make some changes to your bathroom

Guests will need access to soap and warm water. If you can provide hand-washing stations outside your bathroom, do it. If not, you may need to make a few changes in the bathroom.

Remove your cloth towels and replace them with single-use paper towels. Provide cleaning supplies so guests can wipe down toilet handles, light switches, doorknobs and other commonly touched surfaces. Discourage people from lining up at your bathroom door.

Keep food safe

If you are planning a holiday dinner, follow these tips to keeping you and your guests safe.

First, make the clean-up easier and safer by supplying plenty of disposable utensils, cups and plates. If you plan to have multiple guests who are not fully vaccinated or more susceptible to getting COVID-19, designate one person to serve the food.

For anyone bringing dishes, remind them to wash their hands and sanitize their kitchen often while cooking to help reduce the spread of germs.

When it comes to items like condiments, buy single-serve packets. The same advice goes for any pre-packed food items, like chips. As for drinks, provide a cooler full of bottles and cans that are already chilled. Think about keeping sanitizer by the food and drink stations to remind guests to use it before serving themselves. Avoid accidental sharing by placing a marker by the drinks so guests can write their names on their cups.

Use safety precautions for the gathering

COVID-19 can spread outdoors but is less likely to do so, according to studies so far. So, if you can, host or attend a gathering outdoors. That’s the safer option. Not only do outdoor gatherings provide more space for people to keep their distance, but the air also dilutes the virus particles more quickly outdoors than indoors.

If hosting or attending a gathering outdoors isn’t possible, avoid crowded and poorly ventilated spaces.

With another wave of COVID-19 cases upon us, consider implementing these safety precautions while hosting or attending holiday gatherings this year. This is especially true if you will be inviting people who are not fully vaccinated or at high risk with this virus.

For anyone unable to attend the event in-person, there are many tools available, such as phone calls, texting and video chatting, that allow us to stay in touch and celebrate traditions with loved ones.

Stay updated on what Mercy Health is doing related to COVID-19.

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