After a year like 2020, don’t we all just want to spend time with our loved ones? Even so, we must take precautions for this year’s holiday gatherings. You already know the basics: wearing a mask, washing your hands often, social distancing, and staying home when you’re sick. In addition, consider the following tips more specific to holiday gatherings:

  • Pay attention to where you’re meeting and whether people are coming from COVID-19 hotspots before making a decision to join.
  • Avoid potluck-style meals. Instead, consider bringing food for members of your household.
  • Hold events and activities outside when the weather permits.

The biggest misconception people have about gatherings is that a negative test means they are clear. However, it’s essential to remember that a test is only negative at the time it was taken—a COVID-19 transmission can still take place any time after the sample was collected. Therefore, precaution is still necessary and will continue to be a priority even with a vaccine.

A family prepares for holiday travel.

Appropriate measures should also be taken when traveling. For airplane travel in particular, remember:

  • Avoid crowded areas. Airports are full of people who may unknowingly carry the virus.
  • Bring a mask, hand sanitizer, gloves, and travel wipes. Don’t forget to sanitize your folding tray and even the window.
  • Stay home if you are sick or have been around someone suspected to have COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
  • Luckily, airplane travel has not been shown to increase the risk of infection, thanks to standard filtration systems.

As for road trips, remember:

  • When you visit a rest stop or restaurant, wear a mask, wash your hands thoroughly, and open doors with your foot or arm.
  • Use hand sanitizer or gloves when you get gas.
  • If you use a rental car, disinfect as much as possible and let it air out before you travel.

Above all, remain vigilant. It’s understandable that we want to be with family more than ever, but no matter what the numbers look like or our own “COVID fatigue,” the most important thing is taking care of those we love most.