With Covid-19 cases on the rise across the country, local and national health officials issued new guidance this week for celebrating the holidays while preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
On Monday afternoon, Bay Area health officials issued a joint recommendation to limit holiday gatherings to no more than three households. Any celebration should also be held outside and for a duration of no more than two hours, as indicated by state law.
Face coverings should only be removed briefly to eat or drink and everyone should remain at least six feet away from anyone outside their household, per the recommendation.
“With cases rising around the country, and beginning to increase here in Santa Clara County as well, we all must come together and keep up our efforts to reduce transmission,” Santa Clara County Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said. “When people who live in different houses or apartments are together at the same time in the same space, risk of Covid-19 spreading goes up, even when the people are relatives or friends. Please celebrate safely this year and protect yourself and your family by including masks, keeping a distance and staying outdoors.”
Bay Area health officials are also urging residents not to travel outside of the region. If travel cannot be avoided, health officials recommend getting tested for Covid-19 before and after your trip.
On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also issued guidance for holiday celebrations. While there is no evidence that the coronavirus can be transmitted through food, the CDC recommends that guests bring their own food and drinks and avoid any potluck-style meal.
The number of people lingering around the area where food is being prepared should also be limited and one person who is wearing a mask should serve all the food to avoid multiple people touching serving utensils.
The CDC considers the lowest risk activities for the holidays to be: eating dinner with only individuals in your household, holding a virtual celebration with extended family or friends and shopping online for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. High-risk activities include attending crowded parades, taking part in a large indoor gathering with people outside your household and using drugs or alcohol that may make it more difficult to adhere to Covid-19 safety measures.