CDC Recommendations for Small Gatherings During the COVID-19 Pandemic

CDC Recommendations for Small Gatherings During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Attending gatherings increases your risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. Generally speaking, the safest way to celebrate is to gather virtually, with people who live with you, or outside and at least 6 feet apart from others.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides guidance on ways to safely gather.

How to Make Small Gatherings Safer

The CDC recommends taking the following general steps to make small gatherings safer during the pandemic:

  • Wear a mask with two or more layers over your nose and mouth, and secure it under your chin.
    • Ensure the mask fits snugly against the sides of your face.
    • Wear masks both indoors and outdoors, except when eating or drinking.
    • In cold weather, wear a mask under your scarf, ski mask, or balaclava.
    • Keep a spare mask in case your mask becomes wet from moisture in your breath, or from snow or rain.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you.
    • Guests should avoid direct contact, including handshakes and hugs, with others not from their household.
    • People without symptoms or with a recent negative test result can still spread COVID-19 to others.
  • Avoid crowds and indoor spaces that do not offer fresh outdoor air.
    • If indoors, open windows and doors as much as possible.
    • For additional information on increasing ventilation, visit the CDC’s information on Improving Ventilation in Your Home.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public space; after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing; and before eating.
    • Dry your hands completely using a clean towel or by air drying.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    • Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Get your influenza and COVID-19 vaccines as soon as possible. By getting a flu shot, you can also help lower hospital visits and serious health problems from the flu.
  • Have a virtual gathering to connect with family and friends. Consider the following ideas:
    • Schedule a time to eat a meal together virtually and have people show their main dish, vegetable or dessert.
    • Gather virtually for a game, trivia or other activity.
    • Host a virtual dance part with music.
    • Plan a virtual movie viewing party.

Attending a Small Gathering

In addition to the above recommendations, consider the following proactive steps when attending a gathering:

  • Have conversations with the host ahead of time to understand expectations.
  • Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, utensils and condiment packets.
  • Avoid shouting, cheering loudly or singing. Clap, stomp your feet or use hand-held noisemakers instead.
  • Stay home if you are sick or have been near someone who thinks they may have or have been exposed to COVID-19.

Remember that it’s OK if you decide to stay home and remain apart from others. Do what’s best to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy.

Hosting a Small Gathering

If you are hosting a gathering, check the COVID-19 infection rates in areas where guests live to consider whether it’s safe to hold or attend a gathering. If you choose to have guests at your home, make sure that everyone follows the general steps to make gatherings safer. Additionally, consider the following hosting tips:

  • Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for a safe gathering.
  • Limit the number of guests to allow people to remain at least 6 feet apart.
  • Host outdoor gatherings, when possible, with family and friends who live in your community.
  • Encourage everyone to wear masks, and have extra unused masks available for your guests.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and any shared items.
  • Increase indoor ventilation by opening windows and doors or by placing central air and heating on continuous circulation.
  • Encourage guests to wash hands often by having a separate space for guests to wash their hands or providing hand sanitizer.
  • Keep background music volume low so guests don’t need to shout or talk loudly.
  • Cancel the gathering if you or someone who lives with you is sick or has been near someone who thinks they may have COVID-19.

Traveling to a Small Gathering

Travel increases your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19 due to potential exposures on public transit, at airports or in hotels. The CDC continues to recommend postponing travel and staying home, as this is the best way to protect yourself and others.

Visit the CDC’s Domestic Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic page to help you evaluate your risk and decide what is best for you, and your family and friends.

Monitoring Symptoms

Immediately notify the host and others who attended if you develop symptoms of COVID-19 within 14 days of the gathering—such as fever, cough or shortness of breath—or if you test positive for COVID-19.

Keep in mind that the safest way to celebrate during the COVID-19 pandemic is to gather virtually, with people in your household, or outside and at least 6 feet apart from others.

Source: CDC

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. For further information, please consult a medical professional. Design © 2021 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.


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