A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

Holiday gatherings during COVID-19: Keys to staying safe

Holidays during COVID - how will it be different?

Thanks to COVID-19 vaccines, it is now safer to get together during the holidays. However, there are still a few precautions to make note of.

Editor’s note: This article was last updated on November 9, 2021. COVID-19 information and recommendations are subject to change. For the most up-to-date information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website or view our most recent COVID-19 blog posts.

This year marks a return to more traditional holiday gatherings for many, as the COVID-19 pandemic led to distant family members staying at home and traditions being paused in 2020.

Thanks to COVID-19 vaccines, it is now safer to get together and celebrate. However, before the turkey is carved and the gifts are given, there are still a few precautions to make note of to keep the holidays safe and happy.

The biggest key: Get vaccinated

One of the many great things about the holiday season is that it provides an opportunity for different generations of families to join together.

Children 5-11 years old are now able to get the vaccine, but their younger brothers and sisters are not able to yet. The best thing you can do to keep the loved ones in your life who are most vulnerable safe, is to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Other steps you can take to protect others include practicing good hand-hygiene and staying home if you’re feeling sick.

Regardless of vaccination status, please consider wearing a mask over your nose and mouth when in public indoor settings.

Holiday travel safety

For those family members traveling from afar, it’s important to be aware of the latest requirements ahead of time. The CDC recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated.

Domestic and international travel guidelines differ and masks are still required in a variety of settings. International travelers coming into the United States are now required to have the COVID-19 vaccine.

The CDC’s Travel hub is a great resource to learn more about these requirements and get your questions answered.

Keep track of COVID-19 data at your destination

COVID-19 spread can vary county-to-county and community-to-community. As the holidays approach, it can be helpful to monitor the case activity in the area you are visiting to see if any plans need to be adjusted. For families visiting in Wisconsin, the WI Department of Health Services has a handy COVID-19 Disease Activity chart that outlines cases by county and trends over time.

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