Holidays are usually a time for family, friends, and celebration. They are also a time of great risk during COVID-19. The harsh truth has kept returning: It's incredibly difficult to hold gatherings without the risk of spreading the virus. Isolation is the only way to stay reliably safe. However, we have put together a few tips to keep your risk to a minimum.
Collect from a distance
It's not that intimate and you may get tired of Zoom calls from work, but video chatting family together is much less of a risk than meeting face-to-face. You can still have great fun by doing activities that you can do at home and using your phones and the internet to bridge the distance between you. Try these:
- Watch parties! You can enjoy movies, TV, and more by watching the same things and discussing them over the phone or video call.
- Take social games to video chat. You can still play games like charades, swap crosswords, and take part in other traditional activities. Just be a little more creative to work within range of the camera.
- Play online together. The whole family can enjoy online versions of classic board games like Monopoly, Risk, and Clue. Find the platform of your choice in the online store to see what's available.
It's tempting to change landscapes, but when you travel, coronavirus gets from county to county, state to state, and country to country just as much. Keep in mind that when you travel, other people are likely to do the same. They don't know where they came from or if they might be infected.
It is best to stay in your own household or garden. If you can't, check out the local parks and other nearby outdoor areas to enjoy your vacation. Don't hesitate to turn around and come back later if you're not clear enough from other groups or people aren't wearing masks.
Garden grill with social distance and good hygiene
If you still feel like you need to hold a personal party, don't let go of your guard. It has been a long time since it was safe to have close contact with people outside of your household and unfortunately the situation has not improved. Gatherings are still dangerous, but there are steps you can take to reduce the risk at least a little. CNN consulted experts for in-depth recommendations, but the minimum standard is to break down your event (like a grill) and apply CDC guidelines and good hygiene to each part. Here are some examples:
- Do not assume that someone is safe. People infected with coronavirus may have mild or no symptoms. Therefore, everyone should wear a mask when they are not actively eating or drinking.
- Outdoor environments are not a panacea, but leaving the recycled indoor air will reduce the chances of transmitting the virus. Open areas with high airflow limit the amount of virus you can be exposed to.
- Separate the household groups by at least 6 feet. Don't have people if you don't have enough space to safely remove them.
- If your home has multiple bathrooms, designate one for guest use and provide cleaning supplies so it can be decontaminated between uses. Ideally, gatherings shouldn't be long enough for someone to use the bathroom. You should still be prepared just in case.
- Pick a person, preferably the person with the least exposure, to cook food and then have that person or someone else serve it. Avoid buffet-style meals.
- Stick to disposable cutlery and cutlery and never touch food that is served directly with your hands. If utensils like tongs are to be shared, a hand sanitizer should be placed nearby to use before and after touching.
- After all, food should always be covered when not being served.
Invite your pandemic pod
One of the most common pieces of advice you will find is that it is safest to hang out with people who you know are not risky. If you have other households of friends or family members you've already hooked up with, be careful not to add any more – and make sure you don't either.
Keep people at home at high risk
Everyone gets tired of isolation, but staying home is a matter of life or death for the elderly and immunocompromised. Do not pressure someone with risk factors (or members of their household) to visit if they are not happy with it.
The take away
As pandemic fatigue becomes more prevalent, it is tempting to take more risks when connecting with friends and loved ones. There are plenty of creative ways to enjoy the vacation while physically separated. If you feel that you absolutely have to hold a personal event, you should adhere to hygiene and social standards to keep the risk of infection as low as possible.