Stay Safe and Celebrate

Gathering Safely with Family and Friends

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Guidelines to Minimize Exposure

The least exposure comes from avoiding get-togethers with people from other households, including family and friends. If you are going to host or socialize with people outside of your household, below are some simple strategies to reduce potential exposure.

Personal and Social Activities Assessment During COVID-19

Please follow basic Public Health recommendations to reduce your risk and plan activities to minimize potential exposure:

  • Limit the number of different households coming together.
  • Insist family and friends wear masks and be sure to cover nose and mouth.
  • Keep at least six feet from people outside your household which means no hugging or handshaking.
  • Insist family and friends stay home if they’re sick, exposed, awaiting a test result or still recovering.
  • Wash your hands regularly and do not touch your face.
  • Keep it outside for better air flow and more space.
  • Spread out better when sitting together. Keep in mind the “Safe Six” and “Mind the Gap”
  • Set up chairs 6 feet apart, and/or create separate seating areas for each household.
  • Ensure bathrooms have liquid soap and disposable towels and always carry your own hand sanitizer.
  • Create separate eating/dining spaces for each household.
  • Avoid games that bring people close together and/or result in shouting or singing.
  • If in public, like an event or at the river or even a swimming pool, family/friends from different households should still maintain 6 feet distance apart.

Shared food and drinks increase chance of exposure

  • Avoid potluck style and buffet setups, that cause people to gather closely.
  • Each household should have a separate food/drink table with their own serving spoons and disposable plates, cutlery, napkins and cups.
  • Avoid finger foods and shared drink containers, like pitchers and ice buckets. Individual drink cans and bottles are best.
  • Drinking alcohol reduces your attention to following these guidelines, so drink responsibly.

Fourth of July

Fourth of July

This Independence Day we are more dependent than ever on each other to stay safe and stop the spread of COVID-19.

People who are fully vaccinated must navigate decision-making in a world where the vaccinated and unvaccinated will coexist. Outdoor activities and visits are safer than those indoors, but fully vaccinated people can participate in most indoor activities without much risk.

If you are not yet vaccinated, you should continue to practice prevention strategies:

  • Wear a well-fitted mask.
  • Practice physical distancing.
  • Avoid crowds.
  • Wash your hands.

You can find more holiday tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Additional Resources

Download a printable graphic with tips on how to stay safe during your Fourth of July celebrations.

Fall & Winter Holidays

With the holidays around the corner, we are reminded of the desire to celebrate and gather with our families. For the safety of you and your family, celebrations will look different this year. Staying home and not gathering outside your immediate household is the best way to protect yourself and others. Below are a few recommendations based on the risk level.

Anytime you are near people you don’t live with:

  • Wear a mask when not eating or drinking.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Stay six feet apart from others.
  • Consider if those around you may be higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, such as older adults or those with certain medical conditions and take extra precautions.

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Videos

Tips for a Safe Holiday

Precauciones Para Las Fiestas Navideñas (español)

 

Healthy Alternative Activities

Healthy Alternatives
  • Staying at home and enjoying a homemade meal.
  • Cooking a traditional family meal or trying a new recipe with those who live in your household.
  • Taking a walk, run, or hike outdoors while practicing physical distance from those not in your household.
  • Watching a televised event from the comfort of your living room.
  • Donating canned goods and non-perishable items to your local food bank.

Lower risk: Staying at home

Lower Risk Activities

Limit traveling and instead stay at home with only those who live in your household is the lowest risk.

  • Have a small dinner with individual meals instead of a family-style spread or order-in to support local businesses.
  • Host a virtual dinner and share family recipes.
  • Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds before and after preparing food.
  • If you want to shop for the Holidays, consider ordering online or using curbside pickup and avoiding large crowds.
  • Limit traveling if possible.

Moderate risk: Hosting a small dinner

Moderate Risk Activities
  • If you or someone in your household is feeling sick, do not host or attend a gathering.
  • Keep the number of people gathering at your home to just those within your social bubble.
    • Enjoying your company and eating outdoors is safest
    • Immediate family or those within your social bubble are ideal to host
    • Clean and disinfect commonly touched areas often
    • Have plenty of hand sanitizer available
    • Keep visits short
  • Provide plated meals and avoid buffet-style service
    • Designate “servers” to serve food who have washed their hands with soap for 20 seconds in preparation to serve food
    • Arrange tables and chairs to encourage physical distancing while allowing people from the same household to sit together
  • Support local business and order-in.

Higher Risk Activities

Higher Risk Activities

Attending a small gathering

  • If you or someone in your household is feeling sick, stay home.
  • Visiting immediate family and those within your social bubble is best.
  • The way you greet your family and friends will change. To keep everyone safe, avoid the common hugs and kisses with those who do not live in your household.
  • Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds upon arrival and before handling food.
  • If asked to bring a food or beverage item, premade options that are individually packaged are safest. If you decide to make a homemade dish, wash hands with soap for 20 seconds. If you are feeling sick, do not prepare a meal for others to consume.
  • Limit contact with commonly touched surfaces and shared items.
  • Do not share food and drinks with those that do not live in your household.
  • Avoid buffet-style food service.
  • If gathering outdoors is not feasible, sit in a room that is well-ventilated or near an open window.
  • Keep visits short.

Attending a large gathering

The following activities should be avoided to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Shopping in crowded stores.
  • Attending a large family gathering with multiple people from outside your household or outside your social bubble in an indoor location.
  • Using alcohol or drugs.

Visiting a loved one in a nursing home or congregate facility

  • If you or someone in your household is feeling sick, stay home, and do not visit a loved one in a nursing home or congregate facility.
  • Follow the facility's Health and Human Services Commission guidelines.
  • If able to self-quarantine 14 days before a gathering, it is recommended to do so.
  • If possible, get tested for COVID-19 to ensure you are negative prior to visiting.

Traveling out of town

  • If you or someone in your household is feeling sick, stay home, and do not travel out of town.
  • Wear a mask in public settings like public and mass transportation.
  • Avoid close contact by staying six feet apart from anyone who is not from your household.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • If able to self-quarantine 14 days before a gathering, it is recommended to do so.

Halloween

Halloween is not canceled in 2020, it’s just different. Celebrate safely with your newfound safe social distancing and hygiene skills.

Maintain your social bubble when engaging in Halloween activities however you choose to celebrate.

Alternative Activities

Alternative Activities

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends is a great way to get into the Halloween spirit while sprucing up your patio.
  • Hang a piñata in your backyard for your children.
  • Have a Halloween scavenger hunt for your kid's social bubble in your backyard.
  • Plan an outdoor costume parade but keep everyone six feet apart. 
  • Have a spooky movie night with your household.
  • On Halloween day, use healthy food alternatives at home like veggies and fruits vs. candy.
    • Make Boo Bananas, Clementine Jack O’ Lanterns and Vampire Apple Wedges using healthy ingredients

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Planning to Trick-or-Treat

Maintain 6 feet of distance while trick or treating.

If you should decide to trick-or-treat, please practice the new routine of wearing a cloth mask, social distancing, and sanitizing often.

  • Do not go trick-or-treating if you are sick.
  • Make sure you and your children are wearing cloth masks when going out to trick-or-treat. Bust out the ninja costume or slip on a cloth mask under your spooky mask.
  • Limit the size of your group. The safest group of trick-or-treaters are those within your household.
  • Maintain distance more than 6 feet apart between other groups.
  • Bring hand sanitizer and use frequently.
  • Avoid going inside other homes.
  • Wait until you get home to enjoy your treats!
    • Only eat packaged treats.
  • Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds when you return home.

Handing Out Treats

Maintain 6 feet of distance when handing out treats.

  • Don’t hand out candy if you or someone in your household is feeling sick.
  • Don’t require trick-or-treaters to come up to your front door. Participate in distanced trick-or-treating. Find creative ways to create space between you and the trick-or-treaters.
    • Prepare individually wrapped goodie bags or leave individually wrapped candy for families to grab and go on a disinfected table at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard.
    • Be sure to disinfect the table periodically.
  • When preparing goodie bags, be sure to wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds before and after.

Adult Halloween Activities

Adult Halloween Activities

  • Don’t go out if you are feeling sick.
  • You should limit gathering with those outside your household. If you plan to host or go to a Halloween party, plan an outdoor gathering as opposed to an indoor gathering.
    • Gathering in small groups is safer.
    • Avoid beverages from shared punch bowl and buffet-style food.
    • Avoid crowded indoor parties, especially going into haunted houses or hayrides where people may be screaming.
  • Wear an effective cloth mask and not just a Halloween mask.
  • Avoid using drugs and alcohol. These will impair your inhibitions and decision-making abilities including increased risk of injury and violence.

Stay Safe

Make the decision that is best for you and your family. Just like you would check the weather on Halloween, check this website for updates and current risk levels.

  • Follow the current rules and guidance being given at the state and local level.
  • Mask up and wash hands before and after trick-or-treating.
  • If planning to visit a pumpkin patch, sanitize before and after touching pumpkins.
  • Do your research. If you plan to visit another household or a venue celebrating Halloween, check the safety requirements.
  • If you are sick, stay home and do not hand out candy.

Día de los Muertos

Honor those we've lost. Keep those we have safe.

Honor those we've lost and keep those we have safe. Celebrate Día de los Muertos by participating in low risk activities.

Lower risk

  • Prepare favorite recipes of the deceased at home with members of your household.
  • Play music at home.
  • Create an altar for the deceased at your home.
  • Make and decorate masks.
  • Hold online virtual celebrations with friends and family.

Medium risk

  • Have a small, outdoor group get-together with social distancing.
  • Visit and decorate graves with household members only while social distancing from other groups in the cemetery.
  • Host a small dinner party with local friends and family with social distancing.

High risk (AVOID)

  • Participating in large indoor celebrations with singing and dancing.
  • Going to crowded celebrations in a cemetery.