Celebrating holidays during a pandemic

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Carla K. Johnson

https://www.chicagotribune.com/coronavirus/ct-nw-covid-19-thanksgiving-20201110-rh6qfhb33jhgtbzzpwpb554lvq-story.html

Christina Navarro, Staff Reporter

According to USA Today on November 16, 2020, Governor Newsom ordered emergency shutdowns again due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Newsom stated, the number of COVID cases is “the fastest increase California has seen.” With these new cases came the decision by Newsom to place another round of self-quarantine in hopes to slow down the virus. How will this affect your holiday season?

First, there will be a statewide curfew for everyone starting at 10 p.m. every night. And there are new rules for the holidays amid fears that the holiday will lead to more infections.  According to an article in CAL Matters, “The curfew starting right before Thanksgiving week will shut down non-essential work and gatherings from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and applies to all counties in the most restrictive purple tier of California’s reopening plan. The order will remain in effect until Dec. 21.”

Second, Newsom set rules for Thanksgiving gatherings as follows:  Gatherings must include no more than three households, be held outdoors, last no longer than two hours and guest can only go inside to use the restroom.  And masks can only be taken off to eat and drink and guests must be six feet apart.

Given that the COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful and isolating for many people, gatherings for the upcoming holiday can be an opportunity to reconnect. But families will have to consider holiday plans by making some modifications to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

While there is no evidence to suggest that handling food or eating is associated with spreading the virus, it is possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object, including food, food packaging, and utensils. Afterwards they will either touch their mouth, nose, face, or their eyes and risk illness from common forborne germs.

Many families don’t want to cancel Thanksgiving, but family and friends should consider the number of COVID-19 cases in their community and decide to do a meeting online instead of being in person.  Gatherings that last longer have more risk than shorter gatherings with the mention of being with someone who has COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more has a risk of becoming sick.  And if you decide to travel this year for the upcoming holidays, you can get exposure to the virus during your travel, airports, and bus stations.  Traveling increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.

Staying home is the best way to protect yourselves and others. If you hold a family gathering in either your household or someone else’s during the holiday season, make sure you all have been tested for the virus. But if you decide to have a gathering even if it’s very unsafe, make sure your guests wear masks and stay six feet away from people who are not in your household.

Be safe Tigers, and Happy Thanksgiving.