Michigan health experts offer guidelines for safer holiday gatherings during COVID-19

Tips for keeping everyone safe from COVID-19 this holiday season
Posted at 4:23 PM, Oct 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-21 16:27:33-04

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is sharing guidelines to promote safer gatherings this holiday season during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beyond the well-known measures to help prevent the spread, like maintaining social distance, avoiding contact with anyone who is sick, mask wearing and frequent hand washing, the MDHHS has made additional recommendations.

Bundle up! If you plan to host family and friends in the coming months, the MDHHS recommends holding gatherings outside, if possible. If the weather outside is frightful and an outdoor visit is not possible, avoid indoor spaces that are poorly ventilated or easily crowded. You can open windows or doors to help increase airflow. Shorter visits are encouraged as the length of time you're around other people may increase your risk of exposure, according to health officials.

BYOM (Bring Your Own Mask) -- another tip: encourage guests to bring supplies like extra masks and hand sanitizer.

Keep it small, keep it local. Besides limiting the number of people who participate in the festivities at your place (10 people or less), the MDHHS also says to try to host people from the local area. You can review the MI Safe Start map before you have gatherings to know the level of viral spread in your community and the surrounding area. If you are expecting guests from other states, you are encouraged to ask them to limit contact with others as much as possible 14 days prior to their visit.

Don't pass the potatoes. When it comes to food, skip the potluck-style gatherings. A safer option is having guests plan to bring food and drinks for themselves and for members of their own household only. If food will be provided for all, the MDHHS says to assign one person to serve the dishes so multiple people don't end up handling the same utensils.

For a complete list of guidelines on how to celebrate the upcoming holiday season safely from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, go here.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

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