How to Have a Covid Smart Holiday Season.
As Thanksgiving approaches, you may find yourself overwhelmed with worries about staying Covid safe and smart on top of all the usual holiday stresses. While we’ve already got you covered for how to have a healthy Thanksgiving dinner (click here to sign up to receive our Low-carb, Mediterranean Holiday Recipe book) we have also compiled a list of measures you can take to make sure you stay safe and Covid free while being with extended family for next week’s Thanksgiving dinner.
While the CDC and health experts highly recommend staying at home this Holiday season, and doing zoom or video call Thanksgiving dinners, we recognize that many will decide to be with family. If this is a decision that you and your family are comfortable with then make sure to follow these guidelines to ensure you’re staying as safe as possible.
Avoid taking a train or bus in favor of driving. If you're going to take a train, Amtrak would be your best option; as Amtrak has reduced its passenger capacity and offers private rooms Unfortunately, ventilation systems in a train are not as sophisticated as that of a plane and do not provide adequate filtration.
If you have to fly home, make sure to book a window seat for the best chance at social distancing. Planes are equipped with hospital-grade air filters that extract around 99% of viruses. But making sure to social distance, especially in going through the airport is key in making sure you stay safe. Health experts recommend taking a layered approach to protect yourself against Covid in an airport; wear your mask at all times, wash your hands frequently, and avoid crowds as much as possible.
Carpooling is strongly discouraged if riding with people not in your household. Cars are small enclosed spaces where Covid can spread easily between people. If you must carpool, be sure to wear a mask the entire ride and keep the windows open for maximum air circulation.
If Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner:
Host your Thanksgiving dinner outside, if weather permitting. If that's not an option for you, try to host Thanksgiving dinner in a large room with open windows and central air or heating on continuous circulation.
Keep the guest list low; the fewer people at dinner, the smaller the risk of contracting Covid. Try to keep Thanksgiving dinner to your immediate family. Also, keep in mind how many people are able to safely socially distance within your home. The CDC recommends gatherings of less than 10 and opt for separate tables of 4 or 5 for dinner.
Provide supplies for your guests. Make sure you have enough extra masks, hand sanitizer, hand soap, and single-use towels for all of your guests to ensure a clean environment.
Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and shared utensils often.
Ask your guests to get tested and avoid contact with people outside their household for 14 days before the gathering. While quarantining for 14 days may be unrealistic, strongly encourage all of your guests to get tested beforehand.
Use touchless garbage cans and gloves when handling others' trash. Be sure to wash your hands after touching any trash or dirty plates.
Encourage your guests to bring food and drinks for themselves or their household. The CDC recommends avoiding potluck style dinners.
Wear a mask when you serve food to your guests.
Limit people going in and out of the kitchen or areas where food is being prepared. If people must enter the space, make sure they are wearing a mask.
Designate a space for guests to wash their hands.
Limit crowding in areas where food is being served. A good way to avoid crowds around food is to have one person dispense food onto plates, keeping a 6-foot distance from the person they are serving.
Change and launder linen items immediately after the gathering. Make sure to wash all napkins, seating covers, and tablecloths immediately after dinner finishes.
If Attending Thanksgiving Dinner:
Make sure to keep your mask on at all times when not eating or drinking. Given new CDC recommendations around masks, we know wearing your mask not only protects those around you but also protects you from those around you.
Try not to raise your voice during dinner or when around others. The CDC recommends avoiding shouting, singing, or talking loudly when inside around others to prevent the spray of spit.
Treat pets like any other person. Do not pet animals without thoroughly washing your hands before and after. Pets can transmit the disease by carrying the virus on their fur.
Bring a container to put your mask in when not wearing it. The CDC recommends using a paper or mesh bag to keep it clean between uses.
Make sure to wash your hands often. Wash your hands after handling, preparing, serving, and eating food.
I know the above recommendations seem overwhelming but according to an epidemiologist what is happening right now in America "is basically uncontrolled growth in cases". Recent data is noting that a major cause of the recent surge in cases is from small gatherings.
We highly recommend following the advice of the CDC “the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with."