The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) put out the following guidelines for this holiday season. Please note, mask mandates are a critical part of any holiday advisory.
THIS ADIVSORY POINTS OUT WAYS FAMILY MEMBERS SHOULD BEHAVE IN YOUR HOME DURING ANY GATHERINGS. These are listed in the bullet points below.
Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household (who are consistently taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19) poses the lowest risk for spread. Your household is anyone who currently lives and shares common spaces in your housing unit (such as your house or apartment). This can include family members, as well as roommates or people who are unrelated to you. People who do not currently live in your housing unit, such as college students who are returning home from school for the holidays, should be considered part of different households. In-person gatherings that bring together family members or friends from different households, including college students returning home, pose varying levels of risk.
Organizers and attendees of larger events should consider the risk of virus spread based on event size (number of attendees and other factors) and take steps to reduce the possibility of infection, as outlined in the Considerations for Events and Gatherings.
Community levels of COVID-19 – High or increasing levels of COVID-19 cases in the gathering location, as well as in the areas where attendees are coming from, increase the risk of infection and spread among attendees. Family and friends should consider the number of COVID-19 cases in their community and in the community where they plan to celebrate when deciding whether to host or attend a gathering. Information on the number of cases in an area can often be found on the local health department website.
- Location of the gathering – Indoor gatherings, especially those with poor ventilation (for example, small enclosed spaces with no outside air), pose more risk than outdoor gatherings.
- Duration of the gathering – Gatherings that last longer pose more risk than shorter gatherings. Being within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more greatly increases the risk of becoming sick and requires a 14-day quarantine.
- Number and crowding of people at the gathering – Gatherings with more people pose more risk than gatherings with fewer people. CDC does not have a limit or recommend a specific number of attendees for gatherings. The size of a holiday gathering should be determined based on the ability of attendees from different households to stay 6 feet (2 arm lengths) apart, wear masks, wash hands, and follow state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations.
- Behaviors of attendees prior to the gathering – Individuals who did not consistently adhere to social distancing (staying at least 6 feet apart), mask wearing, handwashing, and other prevention behaviors pose more risk than those who consistently practiced these safety measures.
- Behaviors of attendees during the gathering – Gatherings with more safety measures in place, such as mask wearing, social distancing, and handwashing, pose less risk than gatherings where fewer or no preventive measures are being implemented. Use of alcohol or drugs may alter judgment and make it more difficult to practice COVID-19 safety measures.
As to traveling to your destination, the U.S. Travel Association put out the following in response.
U.S. Travel: Do Your Part for Public Health If You Choose to Travel for the Holidays
WASHINGTON (November 19, 2020)—With tens of millions of Americans expected to travel for Thanksgiving next week despite spiking COVID-19 infection numbers nationwide, the U.S. Travel Association on Thursday released an update to its guidance for healthy and safe travel—along with a plea for everyone to closely heed recommended best practices if traveling.
At a Thursday press conference, U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow discussed the relatively new challenge of “pandemic fatigue”—which is reportedly causing many Americans to lower their guard against the coronavirus because they are tired after eight long months of evolving restrictions and lifestyle adjustments.
“It is extremely important to not become complacent about our health and safety practices,” Dow said. “If we do, the longer this pandemic will go on.”
The fatigue phenomenon is partially apparent in the fact that strong numbers of Americans are expected to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday despite the persistence of coronavirus. AAA Travel projects that up to 50 million Americans will take to the roads and skies for the November holiday.
With that in mind, U.S. Travel has updated the “Travel in the New Normal” health and safety guidance developed earlier this year in a collaboration between health and medical authorities and a broad array of business voices. The goal: keep travelers focused on their own practices that contribute to a safe environment for all—and demonstrate the travel industry’s commitment to the same. Accordingly, the new guidance outlines practices that should be embraced by both travelers and travel businesses alike.
“Public health is a shared responsibility that requires a phased and layered approach, and if you’re choosing to travel, you have a major role to play,” said Dow. “First and foremost: wear a mask in public spaces. That needs to be universal at this point.”
Dow emphasized that the need to stay conscientious about health and safety applies to all travel environments—not just air travel. This is especially true because 95% of Thanksgiving trips are expected to be by car this year, according to AAA—an increase from 90% last year.
“The same best practices apply in every phase of travel,” said Dow. “If you’re in an airport, at a rest stop, or entering a restaurant, or if you’re staying in a hotel, please wear a mask in public spaces, without exception.”
Updates to the “Travel in the New Normal” guidance reflect evidence gathered about COVID-19 since the document was first released in May—primarily, that transmission is mostly airborne, and that a greater focus on transmission barriers is therefore essential.
Beyond the strong emphasis on mask-wearing, other practical advice for travelers in the updated guidance includes:
- Decide if you can travel safely. Do not travel if you are sick or if you have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
- Get an annual flu vaccine.
- Before travel, check information about your destination. Check health departments for local requirements and up-to-date travel information about your destination.
- Practice physical distancing. Stay six feet from those who do not live with you, both indoors and outdoors.
- Wash your hands frequently. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
Click here to read the full updated travel health and safety guidance.
U.S. Travel Association Contacts
|Cathy Reynolds||(C) 703.899.7031|
|Chris Kennedy||(C) 202.465.6635|
U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.6 trillion in economic output and supports 15.8 million jobs (pre-pandemic). U.S. Travel’s mission is to increase travel to and within the United States.
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