Enjoying The Holidays Safely During the Coronavirus PandemicWith fall and winter seasons upon us, so are the holidays. And, with the COVID-19 pandemic still happening, holiday traditions and gatherings will look a bit different this year. Americans are wondering about holiday parties, family dinners and other traditional celebrations. There might not be a lot of easy answers – to anything! – this year, but by following community health guidelines, you and your loved ones can still enjoy a safe celebration.

Fall and winter are chock full of holidays and celebrations for people from all walks of life in the United States. Some of these include Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Halloween, Día de los Muertos, Navratri, Diwali, Thanksgiving, Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and New Year’s.

When planning your holidays, you should keep some considerations in mind for both your and your loved ones’ safety.

*Please note that you should, above all, follow local community and CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19, and if anyone in your household is sick, refrain from participating in any in-person holiday activities.*

Giving thanks around the table

Many people travel to see their families at Thanksgiving. This year, traveling is a high-risk activity and many Thanksgiving gatherings will be smaller than usual. However, you don’t have to cancel Thanksgiving altogether. The lowest risk is a small dinner with just your household – cook as much you’d like and consider safely delivering some to neighbors who live alone. And take advantage of those Black Friday deals online instead of at the store.

If you live in an area with nice weather, a more moderate risk option is an outdoor dinner with family or friends, or a small get-together to watch the big game out in the backyard. Ensure you follow your local community guidelines.

Avoid high-risk activities like Christmas shopping, attending sports events, and parades. Skip the invite to large indoor Thanksgiving dinners, especially with people you don’t know well.

Staying merry and bright

The Christmas and winter holidays will likely look much different this year as well. Holidays traditionally call for large gatherings, dinners and parties, which are all high risk for transmission of the coronavirus. If you do plan on any type of celebration, ensure you only invite people in your “bubble.” Low-risk activities you can do with the family include drive-through holiday light displays, decorating the house or apartment, and baking traditional family recipes.

If your child is worried about Santa, look no further than Google for services that offer “virtual visits” with Santa, like JingleRing. Additionally, stick to shopping online. Avoid crowded shopping centers, malls and waiting in lines for “deals.” Saving a few dollars is not worth contracting COVID-19 or bringing it home to infect your loved ones, and most stores offer contactless delivery or pickup. Avoid Christmas caroling as well. Consider a virtual caroling chain!

Enjoying your holiday meal

Because many celebrations include sharing a meal, following are some tips and guidelines on preparing and serving food safely.

In general, as a home cook, you should always follow these four food safety steps – Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill. Ensure you wash your hands with soap and water before and after preparing, serving, and eating your meal. Wear a mask while you prepare and serve. If you are having guests from outside your household, encourage them to bring their own drinks or food and avoid self-serve items and buffets.

Other thoughts: Seat people from the same households or “bubbles” together, and maintain social distancing where possible. If you plan to use candles, wait until everyone has left the room to blow them out. A Zoom or virtual dinner allows you to invite as many people as you want. Avoid crowded grocery stores by purchasing your ingredients online for delivery or pickup.

The attorneys at Mezrano Law Firm wish our clients a safe and healthy holiday season. If you need us, call 205-206-6300 or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment. We serve clients in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Mobile, Montgomery, Florence, and Gadsden.