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It’s exciting that holiday traditions can resume this year—here are tips to enjoy them more safely.

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As the 2021 holiday season approaches, you’re likely excited to return to some of the holiday traditions you enjoyed before the COVID-19 pandemic put everything on hold in 2020. The good news is that many traditions can be resumed and you can enjoy some sense of normalcy this holiday season. But whether you’re traveling, hosting get-togethers or enjoying holiday outings and events, there are still steps you should take to keep yourself and your family safer.

Here are some tips to stay safer while enjoying the holidays this year:

  • Travel and visits – The holiday season is typically the busiest travel period of the year. And with so many people putting their travel plans on hold last year, it is expected to be busy once again. When figuring out your travel plans, evaluate your risk tolerance for coming in contact with the COVID-19 virus. Consider these questions: Are you vaccinated? Have you received a vaccine booster? Are you at increased risk for severe illness? Will you be around people who are unvaccinated? Are you travelling with children? How will you get to your destination (by plane, train or car)? Where will you stay? What will you do when you get there? The answers to these questions will affect the steps you’ll need to take to stay safer while you’re away from home.
  • Parties and get-togethers – If you are the host of a holiday celebration, you have some control over factors that can affect your potential COVID-19 exposure risk. Consider how many people you will invite, whether you will require everyone to show proof of vaccination, if you will request that people get tested before they stay at your home, how you will serve food and drinks (buffets may still not be a good idea) and what steps you can take to reduce exposure (such as keeping gatherings small, asking guests to wear masks or hosting parties outside, weather permitting). If you are a guest, you may want to ask the host what protocols will be in place at the event before deciding how comfortable you feel going.
  • Traditions and events – Are you planning on watching a tree lighting this year? Going to a parade? Seeing a holiday show? If you are, the first thing you should do is check if there are any requirements or restrictions for attendance. For example, some places require you to show vaccine cards. Others may need you to have negative COVID-19 test results. There may be limited capacity at events that used to allow unlimited attendance, so you may have to plan accordingly.

No matter how you spend your time during this holiday season, keep following the precautionary measures that have been keeping you safer throughout the pandemic—wear a mask, wash your hands often, avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes, maintain a 6-foot distance between you and others as much as possible and stay away from anyone who is sick. Although vaccination provides a layer of protection against severe illness from COVID-19, it doesn’t guarantee you won’t get sick or spread the illness to others so now is not the time to let your guard down.

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Date Last Reviewed: October 12, 2021

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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