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Tips for a Healthier Holiday Season

Rates of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are steeply rising in Rhode Island and across the country. Wherever you celebrate this holiday season, follow these tips from the Rhode Island Department of Health and consider participating in only lower risk activities to help reduce the chances of catching and spreading COVID-19.

Lower risk holiday celebrations

Limit in-person holiday gatherings to only people you live with. Do not travel or host guests for the holidays. Staying home and celebrating with only those you live with is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. 

Find safer, creative ways to celebrate the holidays with people you don’t live with.

  • Prepare or order a holiday meal for friends or family. Deliver food to them in a way that limits contact. 
  • Host a virtual holiday dinner with extended family or friends, especially if they are at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 or live in a nursing home or assisted living facility. 
  • Watch sporting events, parades, and movies from home or virtually with others rather than going out.

Higher risk holiday celebrations

If you risk celebrating the holidays in person with people you don’t live with: 

Limit social contact outside of your household to one other household or one or two other people. Keep your group small and stable. Limit social gatherings to no more than 10 people as required by law, unless you are at a restaurant or a location with an on-site licensed caterer. 

Wear your mask and watch your distance at all times, even within your small, stable group. 

For 14 days before and after holiday gatherings, stay home, avoid contact with other people, and only leave home for essential activities. 

Take it outside as weather permits. Open windows and doors to increase air flow when guests come inside. 

Plan and get creative with limiting the use of shared spaces and objects. For example, seat people at least six feet apart from each other. When exchanging gifts, use hand sanitizer or exchange gifts virtually. 

Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and shared items between uses. 

Avoid these activities: 

  • Sharing food and drinks. 
  • Shaking hands and hugging. Wave and verbally greet others instead. 
  • Singing, dancing, chanting, and shouting. These activities increase your chances of catching and spreading COVID-19 through the air.  
  • Outdoor family football games and other high-contact activities. 
  • In-person gatherings with people at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, such as older adults and people with certain medical conditions.

These tips may change as COVID-19 case counts change. Find more information about safely celebrating the holidays at the Rhode Island Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention