With coronavirus case numbers surging across the United States as the Thanksgiving holiday nears, health officials are urging people to avoid activities that risk spreading the virus even more.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has ranked common holiday activities by coronavirus transmission risk level, putting shopping in crowds and attending packed parades and large indoor parties in the riskiest category.
In general, people should wash their hands with soap and water, wear masks when not eating, maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others, avoid hugging or kissing and opt for outdoor settings rather than gather indoors, according to the CDC’s guidance.
Travel is discouraged. In California, returning residents and visitors are urged to quarantine for 14 days after returning from travel.
For those hosting overnight guests, the CDC urges that everyone wears masks while at home, improve ventilation by opening windows, avoid singing and shouting and try spending time outdoors. Hosts and guests should also make a plan for what to do if someone gets sick.
For small holiday dinners, the CDC says people should avoid potluck-style gatherings, have one person in a mask prepare and serve all the food and limit the number of people going into the kitchen.
Here’s how the CDC ranked the holiday activities:
- Having a small dinner only with people who live in your household
- Delivering traditional holiday meals to family and neighbors at risk of serious illness without making contact
- Having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family
- Shopping online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving or the next Monday
- Watching sports events, parades and movies from home
- Having a small outdoor dinner with family and friends who live in your community
- Lower your risk by following CDC’s recommendations on hosting gatherings or cook-outs.
- Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer, wear masks and people are able to maintain social distancing
- Attending a small outdoor sports events with safety precautions in place
- Going shopping in crowded stores just before, on or after Thanksgiving
- Participating or being a spectator at a crowded race
- Attending crowded parades
- Attending large indoor gatherings with people from different households
- Using alcohol or drugs that may make it more difficult to practice COVID-19 safety measures
If exposed to the coronavirus during holiday travel, the agency recommends staying home and away from others for 14 days while monitoring for a fever and other COVID-19 symptoms. The CDC also tells those exposed to consider getting tested for the virus.
Those who develop symptoms or test positive for the virus within 14 days of the celebration should immediately notify the host and others who attended, health officials said.