During holiday season, you may be wondering if it is safe to gather and celebrate
with loved ones. Here are guidelines from Contra Costa Health for protecting yourself and others from COVID-19.
Holiday Recommendation Guidelines (PDF)
Keep it Small, short, stable and Safe
The safest gathering is one that is a small, stable group that meets outdoors for a short duration and uses face coverings, distance and other safety measures.
Any activity outside of your household increases chances of exposure to the virus. Be selective and space out which public activities you choose. If gathering with your small, stable group is most important, consider forgoing or delaying other activities such as a haircut or indoor dining to reduce your overall exposures and protect your group.
If you gather in person, keep it safe, small, short, and stable OUTSIDE IS SAFER Gather outside and follow safety guidelines The risk of COVID-19 transmission is highest in indoor spaces without enough ventilation. That’s why gathering inside is not allowed, except as permitted under the state’s health order. Outdoor spaces that are covered are okay, as long as 75% of the space is open to the outdoors. People may go inside to use restrooms, as long as restrooms are sanitized often and attendees only go one at a time.
Limit gatherings to no more than 3 households.
When people from different households are together at the same time in the same space, the risk of spreading COVID-19 goes up. That’s why gatherings of more than 3 different households are not allowed.
Limit gatherings to no more than 2 hours The longer people gather together, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spreading. That’s why gathering for longer than 2 hours is not allowed, under the state’s health order.
Do not participate in multiple gatherings with many different households
If anyone in your household develops COVID-19 symptoms after attending a gathering:
- Get tested for COVID-19
- Notify the other attendees as soon as possible regarding the potential exposure
- Stay home as much as possible for 14 days after the gathering or until household member tests negative
- Avoid being around people who have higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19
Considerations before hosting or attending:
- Are there many or increasing cases of COVID-19 in areas where attendees live?
- Have all attendees been taking precautions against COVID-19?
- Will all attendees wear face coverings and keep physical distance at the gathering?
Do not attend if:
- Anyone in your household has COVID-19-like symptoms
- You are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 due to age or medical conditions
Hosts should let guests know safety guidelines must be followed before the event so everyone is aware. The more people come into contact with others outside their household, the higher the risk of spreading COVID-19. That’s why participating in multiple gatherings with different households is strongly discouraged. If you attend several gatherings over the holidays, keep it to the same group of people.
- Maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from people not in your household at all times, whether you’re sitting or standing. More distance is safer.
- Wear face coverings at all times, including when talking to others. You can remove face covering briefly to eat, drink, or take medication as long as you stay at least 6 feet away from everyone outside your own household. More distance is safer.
- Remain outside as much as possible. If you go inside, open windows and doors to increase ventilation.
- Wash hands with soap and water often. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
- Serve shared food safely. If it is not possible to use single-serve disposable containers, food and beverages must be served by a person who washes or sanitizes their hands frequently and wears a face covering. If you are dropping off home-prepared food or drink gifts, be sure to wear a mask and disinfect or wash your hands thoroughly.
- Avoid singing, chanting, and shouting. If you cannot avoid these activities, keep your face covering on, your volume low, and at least a 6-foot distance from others. More distance and being outdoors are safer.
Celebrate without gathering
The safest way to celebrate this holiday season is virtually or with members of your household. Gathering with people outside your household – even extended family – increases the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. There are many ways to enjoy the holidays with loved ones without gathering:
- Enjoy holiday traditions at home with your household
- Decorate your home and/or yard
- Share a virtual meal with family and friends
- Host online parties and/or contests
- Prepare meals using traditional recipes and deliver to family and neighbors
- Attend holiday movie nights at drive-in venues
- Visit holiday-themed outdoor art installations
- Participate in drive-by events where everyone stays in their vehicles