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CDC says to celebrate holidays virtually despite vaccines, lack of restrictions in public spaces

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is giving advice for the upcoming holiday season. Thanksgiving is just weeks away and the CDC says that safe gathering and celebration will be necessary with the prevalence of COVID-19.

Attending large gatherings can increase risk of getting and spreading the virus despite increased vaccinations, according to CDC officials.

Despite an essential full-reopening of the U.S. economy, and lack of physical restrictions in most circumstances – the CDC says the safest way to celebrate (again) is virtually.

They also say that celebrating the holidays with people you live with, or with others outdoors – with more than six feet of social distancing is safe.

For those who are going to celebrate indoors with those from outside their household the CDC encourages opening windows and doors – or using a fan to pump in outdoor air into the indoor setting.

They are also asking anyone who is feeling symptoms of COVID-19 or other similar sicknesses to stay home.


Check out the full rundown of guidelines provided by the CDC below:

Safer Ways to Celebrate Holidays

  • Decorate your home with holiday themed items and banners.
  • Host a video chat party with family and friends to share in the celebration.
  • Plan a special meal with people who live with you inspired by the holiday or event.
  • Have an outdoor celebration with everyone at least 6 feet apart.
  • Watch virtual events and celebrations.
  • Drive or walk around your community to wave to neighbors from a safe distance.
  • Take a food or gift to family, friends, and neighbors in a way that does not involve contact with others, such as leaving them at the door.
  • Throw a virtual dance party and collaborate with friends and family on a playlist.
  • Celebrate outside with neighbors and friends.
  • Volunteer to help others in need.
  • Attend a virtual ceremony or celebration.

Celebrating In-Person with People Outside Your Household

If you are attending an in-person holiday celebration, take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19.

  • Get vaccinated when you are eligible.
  • Know when to wear a mask.
  • If you are not fully vaccinated and aged 2 or older, you should wear a mask in indoor public places.
    • In general, you do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings.
      • In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.
  • Outdoor activities are safer than indoor gatherings.
  • Have conversations ahead of time to understand expectations for celebrating together.
  • Do not attend or host a gathering if you are sick or have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If celebrating indoors, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors, if possible. You can use a window fan in one of the open windows to blow air out of the window. This will pull fresh air in through the other open windows.

Holiday Travel

CDC recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated.

  • If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow CDC’s Domestic Travel or International Travel recommendations for unvaccinated people.
  • If you will be traveling with unvaccinated people, such as children younger than 12 who are not eligible for vaccines, follow recommendations for unvaccinated people and choose the safer travel options.
  • Everyone, even people who are fully vaccinated, will still be required to wear a mask on public transportation.
  • If you are considering traveling for a holiday or event, visit CDC’s Travel page to help you decide what is best for you and your family.


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