CDC releases guidelines for a safe holiday season

Holiday party stock photo.
Photo credit Getty Images

After removing old guidelines earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Friday updated recommendations for COVID-19 prevention this holiday season.

Over the next few weeks and months, people across the country will be celebrating fall and winter holidays for the second time since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. Last year, before vaccines were available, many in-person gatherings were called off, scaled down or held remotely.

In order for families and friends to see each other and enjoy the upcoming holiday season safely, the CDC says that:

·       Anyone eligible to get a vaccine protect those not currently eligible for vaccination (such as children aged 12 and younger) by getting fully vaccinated

·       Unvaccinated individuals should wear well-fitting masks over their noses and mouths when in public indoor settings

·       People who are fully vaccinated should also wear masks in public indoor settings where there is a risk of high COVID-19 transmission

·       Those planning gatherings should note that outdoor gatherings are safer than indoor gatherings

·       Everyone should avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces

·       People who feel sick or have symptoms of COVID-19 should avoid hosting or attending gatherings

Additionally, people who have had symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone infected with the virus should get tested before attending any holiday events.

For those who are considering traveling for the holidays, the CDC has more guidance. In general, the centers recommend that only fully vaccinated individuals travel. Those who must travel but are not fully vaccinated should follow CDC guidelines for unvaccinated people and travel could be restricted for individuals who have COVID-19.

All travelers, including fully vaccinated people, are required to wear a mask on public transportation and follow international travel recommendations.

“People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system may not be fully protected even if they are fully vaccinated and have received an additional dose,” said the CDC. These individuals should take the same precautions as unvaccinated people.

Masks may also be helpful at preventing infection regardless of the level of transmission for people who want to protect high-risk family members.
However, the CDC said not to put masks on children younger than two years old.

“If you are gathering with a group of people from multiple households and potentially from different parts of the country, you could consider additional precautions,” the CDC added.