KEY POINTS

  • The CDC released safety guidelines for social gatherings this Thanksgiving
  • Frequent hand washing and wearing of face masks are crucial to ensure everyone's safety
  • Having a plan prior to attending the gathering is also important in case guests are exposed to coronavirus 

With Thanksgiving just right around the corner, people are already finalizing their plans for the holiday amid the pandemic. With in-person gatherings still posing a health risk, many are opting to celebrate virtually. Overall, postponing travel and staying home are the best way to avoid contracting the coronavirus and spreading it to loved ones.

For those considering meeting up with families and friends from different households, here are several safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that might be of help when preparing to attend a social gathering:

1. Wear a mask

Regardless of the occasion, always wear a mask when heading out of the house. Avoid removing it in public, except when eating or drinking, and make sure to dispose of it properly. Never reuse disposable masks. Consider wearing eye shields for added protection.

2. Stay at least 6 feet away from people living in other residences

When attending a social gathering, maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from people from different households. This lowers the risk of contracting COVID-19 and spreading it to people living in one's own home.

3. Wash hands

Considered one of the most important methods of lowering the risk of contracting COVID-19, frequent hand washing should not be underestimated.

Make sure to wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. It is also recommended to wash hands after coming in contact with surfaces commonly touched by other people.

4. Bring own utensils, plates and cups

Encourage attendees to bring their own supplies to keep everyone safe and healthy. Never share utensils or face masks. Single-use towels should also be accessible to everyone as well as alcohol.

5. Do not go in and out of areas where food is being prepared

Limit people from entering areas where food is being prepared or handled. It is highly recommended for the food to only be handled by one person wearing a face mask. The designated person should also be the one to distribute utensils and/or food.

6. Attendees should check themselves for symptoms

All attendees should check their temperatures and symptoms before attending the gathering. People with cough, fever or flu-like symptoms are recommended to skip the gathering altogether to ensure everyone's safety.

7. Consider the place and duration of the gathering

Attendees should be informed of the number of people who will be attending the gathering as the more people, the higher the risk of contracting the coronavirus. The duration of the gathering is also recommended to be kept short as longer durations also pose higher risks compared to shorter ones.

8. Avoid contact with anyone who is sick

Should anyone start displaying flu-like symptoms, consider cutting your visit short, keep your face mask on and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from the sick person. 

9. Avoid taking alcohol or drugs that may alter judgment

Safety measures may be compromised when one is not in his best state of mind. Avoid taking alcohol or any kind of drug that may lead to risky behavior due to altered judgment.

10. Prepare a plan if exposed to the virus

Before attending the gathering, all guests should have a plan prepared in case they end up being exposed to the virus.

All attendees should self-isolate for at least 14 days after contact with the person who has COVID-19. Guests should also watch out for developing symptoms and avoid travel until after two weeks from the last possible exposure to the virus.

The global death toll from the new coronavirus, which emerged less than a year ago in China and has swept across the world, passed one million on Sunday. As the ground zero of the outbreak, the central Chinese city of Wuhan now appears to have controlled The global death toll from the new coronavirus, which emerged less than a year ago in China and has swept across the world, passed one million on Sunday. As the ground zero of the outbreak, the central Chinese city of Wuhan now appears to have controlled the disease. Photo: AFPTV / Matthew KNIGHT