Halloween, Dia de los Muertos, Thanksgiving, no holiday will be spared in 2020 COVID-19, continues devastating communities around the country. 

On Monday, the Center for Disease Control & Prevention released its “considerations” for people to follow this holiday season to help protect friends, families, and communities from COVID-19. The bottomline: stay home, snuggle close with Facetime, and watch holiday movies on your favorite streaming service if COVID-19 levels in your community is high.

“Higher levels of COVID-19 cases and community spread in the gathering location, as well as where attendees are coming from, increase the risk of infection and spread among attendees, the CDC pointed out on its website. “Family and friends should consider the number and rate of COVID-19 cases in their community and in the community where they plan to celebrate when considering whether to host or attend a holiday celebration.” 

To find out if COVID-19 is widespread in your community, the CDC recommends checking with the local health department. Collin County offers a COVID-19 dashboard, but county officials warn that they lack confidence in the state’s numbers on display. 

If you’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19, have symptoms of it, or are waiting on viral test results, the CDC recommends that you do not host or participate in holiday activities. The same goes for people who are at an increased risk for severe illness. 

On its website, the CDC offers tips for people who are planning to host a holiday gathering or who are attending one. Some of the tips include limiting the number of attendees and encouraging or bringing PPE like masks and hand sanitizers. For both attendees and host, the CDC warns: If you are planning in-person holiday gatherings or to attend in-person holiday gatherings with people outside of your household, consider strictly avoiding contact with people outside of their households for 14 days before the gathering.

The CDC presented its considerations for the upcoming holiday season in three categories: lower risk activities, moderate risk activities, high risk activities. They are listed below.

Shutterstock.com

Halloween

Lower risk activities

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household or outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends
  • Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance
  • Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
  • Hosting a Halloween movie night with people you live with
  • Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house

Moderate risk activities 

  • Participating in one-way trick-or-treating where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard)
    • If you are preparing goodie bags, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 second before and after preparing the bags.
  • Having a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade where people are distanced more than six feet apart
  • Attending a costume party held outdoors where protective masks are used and people can remain more than six feet apart
    • A costume mask (such as for Halloween) is not a substitute for a cloth mask. A costume mask should not be used unless it is made of two or more layers of breathable fabric that covers the mouth and nose and doesn’t leave gaps around the face.
    • Do not wear a costume mask over a protective cloth mask because it can be dangerous if the costume mask makes it hard to breathe. Instead, consider using a Halloween-themed cloth mask.
  • Going to an open-air, one-way, walk-through haunted forest where appropriate mask use is enforced, and people can remain more than six feet apart
    • If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus.
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing
  • Having an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family friends with people spaced at least six feet apart
    • If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus.
    • Lower your risk by following CDC’s recommendations on hosting gatherings or cook-outs.

Higher risk activities

  • Participating in traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door
  • Having trunk-or-treat where treats are handed out from trunks of cars lined up in large parking lots
  • Attending crowded costume parties held indoors
  • Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming
  • Going on hayrides or tractor rides with people who are not in your household
  • Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors
  • Traveling to a rural fall festival that is not in your community if you live in an area with community spread of COVID-19
Shutterstock.com

Dia de los Muertos

Lower risk activities

  • Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others
  • Playing music in your home that your deceased loved ones enjoyed
  • Making and decorating masks or making an altar for the deceased
  • Setting out pillows and blankets in your home for the deceased
  • Joining a virtual get-together celebration

Moderate risk activities 

  • Having a small group outdoor, open-air parade where people are distanced more than six feet apart
  • Visiting and decorating graves of loved ones with household members only and keeping more than six feet away from others who may be in the area
  • Hosting or attending a small dinner with local family and friends outdoors where people are distanced more than six feet part

Higher risk activities

  • Attending large indoor celebrations with singing or chanting
  • Participating in crowded indoor gatherings or events
  • Having a large dinner party with people from different households coming from different geographic locations
  • Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors
This year, the CDC recommends masks and social distancing / Shutterstock.com

Thanksgiving

Lower risk activities 

  • Having a small dinner with only people who live in your household
  • Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others
  • Having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family
  • Shopping online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving or the next Monday
  • Watching sports events, parades, and movies from home

Moderate risk activities

  • Having a small outdoor dinner with family and friends who live in your community
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing
  • Attending a small outdoor sports events with safety precautions in place

Higher risk activities

  • Going shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving
  • Participating or being a spectator at a crowded race
  • Attending crowded parades
  • Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors
  • Attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household
Shutterstock.com

Christmas

TBA

All information comes from the CDC’s website. To view the information click here.

Christian McPhate

Christian McPhate is the managing editor of Local Profile. He has been working as a journalist for more than a decade. His work has appeared in a number of publications, including the Dallas Morning News,...