At this time of year, families and friends will be making decisions about whether or not to get together to celebrate, watch soccer games or participate in other events of the season.
This is what we know:
Group meetings – even with people we know – can contribute to the spread of COVID-19. The greater the number of people we interact with in a meeting, and the longer the interaction lasts, the greater the risk of infection.
The safest option, especially if you are in a high risk category, is to avoid meetings and find different ways to celebrate. This site includes ideas on how to meet virtually. If this is not an option, here is a checklist for planning a safer meeting.
Celebrations during COVID
This year, our days watching soccer games together, having family reunions, and celebrating the holidays will be a little different. And that is difficult. But there are many ways to feel a little closer, even though we are apart.
Safety list in case you meet
If you decide to meet up, there is always a risk of spreading the COVID-19 infection. Help reduce this risk with good planning, talking about it, and making some deals.
Before the meeting
- Have “the conversation.” Be very clear with your friends and family about how they will do the safety a priority when you spend time together. Establish some ground rules that help everyone know what to expect. Click here to see an example of a conversation guide.
- Check your guest list. Are there people who could be in the high risk category or children? Think about the special needs of each person and take precautions as part of your planning.
- Check your space and meet outside if possible. Is there enough room to keep a distance of at least 6 feet (2 meters) from people you don’t live with? If not, is there an outdoor space, like a park, where they can meet? If so, will there be toilets that people can use? If you gather inside, open the windows for more ventilation. Remind your guests to wear warm clothes!
- Adjust your guest list. Limit the number of guests based on the number allowed in your county under the Safe Start plan and the availability of indoor or outdoor space to maintain a distance of 6 feet (2 meters).
- Get a health check. Ask if anyone has had symptoms such as cough, fever, or shortness of breath in the past two weeks. Ask guests to check their temperature before arriving. Anyone with a fever – or anyone who has had symptoms or is aware of having been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 in the past two weeks – should stay home.
- Consider the children. Children have difficulty playing at a distance of 6 feet (2 meters), so wearing masks and washing hands frequently may be the safest plan of action. Remember: children under the age of 2 should never wear masks!
- Clean, clean, clean. If you are the host, frequently disinfect the surfaces that people use during their visit.
- Consider doing a pre-event quarantine. Can all participants (including you) be quarantined for 14 days before the meeting?
- Take the test. If you’ve been around a lot of other people or don’t wear a mask regularly, get tested for COVID-19 to make sure you don’t have it. Consider that it may take a few days to receive the test results. Even if you test negative, you will need to wear a mask and keep your distance from others when socializing.
During the meeting
- Wash your hands before and frequently. Ask adults and children to wash their hands with soap for at least 20 seconds before arriving, before and after eating, and before leaving. If there is no access to a sink, provide antibacterial gel.
- If possible, meet outdoors. If you gather inside, open the windows for more ventilation.
- Put on the mask. Wear a mask all the time when you are not eating. Consider keeping extra masks on hand in case others don’t.
- Separate portions. Avoid sharing food and utensils, even with babies or young children. Don’t share drinks.
- Avoid close contact. Just smiles and air hugs, and practice with the children beforehand to do the same.
After the conference
- Wash your hands (again). Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water.
- Disinfects Clean all surfaces that guests may have touched such as tables, kitchen counters, handles and accessories in the bathroom, first with soap and water, and then with a disinfectant.
- Pay attention to the symptoms. Notify people who attended the meeting if there is a positive review among the attendees. Get more information about what to do if you’ve been exposed.
Download the list (PDF version)
When trying to make a decision about reuniting or not, there are important things to discuss with your family and friends who do not live with you:
- Have any of you had COVID-19 symptoms in the past two weeks or been in contact with someone who tested positive on a recent test?
- How can we have a small meeting?
- Will we meet inside or outside?
- Is everyone comfortable wearing a mask inside and outside?
- If they will be outside, will the guests be able to use a bathroom inside?
- Will children attend? If so, will children over 2 years old be able to wear masks? (Children under the age of two should never wear masks).
- How will the food be shared (or not)?
- Is there a way to stay 6 feet (2 meters) away while serving and eating?
- If the plan is to meet outside (the safest option), what will we do in bad weather?
- Is there a way for everyone to get screened and then quarantined for 14 days before the meeting?
- Will there be guests considered high risk?