Festive celebrations are an important part of the winter holiday season. From parties to feasts to opening presents, many cherished holiday traditions have one thing in common – gathering with friends and family. Taking precautions to help keep loved ones safe from COVID-19 should be an important part of your plan this year, especially with the emergence of the Omicron variant. Here, we offer some tips for connecting with friends and family safely this holiday season.
COVID-19 – Connecting with Friends and Family during the Holidays
Due to COVID-19 and the concern around the Omicron variant, holiday get-togethers may continue to look a little different. While some people might feel more comfortable gathering, as many Americans receive COVID-19 vaccines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommends taking certain safety measures.1 Consider the following tips for celebrating the holidays with family and friends while helping to stay protected from COVID-19.
Take Safety Precautions
Encourage your friends and family to follow CDC guidelines that can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 including:
- Getting vaccinated if you’re eligible1
- Staying home if you’re sick or have symptoms1
- Wearing a mask in public, indoor settings (even if you’re vaccinated)1
- Getting tested if you have sypmtoms1
If you’re planning some fun holiday activities with loved ones from multiple households, you may want to take additional precautions before gathering, like avoiding crowded indoor spaces, getting tested or venturing outdoors.1
Make Your [Invite] List and Check It Twice
If you’re hosting or planning to attend a holiday gathering, it’s important to consider who in your group may be most at risk. According to the CDC, older adults, people with certain medical conditions, and pregnant or recently pregnant people are at increased risk for severe illness if they contract COVID-19.2 Taking note of those friends and family members that may be at greater risk (even if they are vaccinated) can help you take added precautions or perhaps even make the choice to get together virtually.
Plan for COVID-19 Testing
Many families’ holiday plans include traveling to visit loved ones. Stay up-to-date with travel guidelines and COVID-19 test requirements that may be changing due to the Omicron variant. If your celebrations are staying local, strategic COVID-19 testing can still help your group stay safe and healthy. Getting tested both before and after holiday events is a great way to keep track of possible COVID-19 exposure and help prevent its spread.
Some people may decide that it’s best to take part in holiday activities from afar this year – but that doesn’t mean they have to miss out on the fun. Find creative ways to connect with friends and family at a distance, like:
- Eating outside (if weather permits) to maintain social distancing
- Hosting a virtual party for those who can’t join in person
- Planning drive-by greetings for those who might be quarantining
Get Tested and Celebrate Safely
Staying up-to-date with COVID-19 guidelines, including testing, can help you and your loved ones connect safely this season. Check resources like the CDC for regularly updated guidance, and turn to BioReference Laboratories for your testing needs at any scale. Whether your holiday festivities come together in person or virtually this season, getting tested can help you celebrate safely.