As we enter the Winter holiday season, DHEC is encouraging residents to take effective safety measures that will allow them to enjoy the festivities while minimizing the risk of contracting COVID-19. These tips help avoid the scare of being exposed to or spreading COVID-19.
Get Vaccinated Before the Holiday Season
Planning to gather with family for the holidays? Make sure you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 first. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, find a vaccine.
People are considered fully vaccinated:
- 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
If you have questions about the vaccine, you should reach out to a health care provider or visit Stay SC Strong Vaccine Resources to get the facts you need to make a decision.
Celebrating outside is a safer choice. COVID-19 spreads more easily indoors than outdoors. Additionally, studies show that people are more likely to be exposed to COVID-19 when they are closer than 6 feet apart from others for longer periods of time.
You are more likely to be exposed to COVID-19 when you:
- Attend crowded, poorly ventilated indoor events
- Have close contact with infected people at home
You are less likely to be exposed to COVID-19 when you:
- Attend outdoor activities
- Stay at least 6 feet apart
- Limit the amount of time spent with people who don’t live with you
Follow these tips when attending gatherings:
- If you have symptoms or have tested positive in the last 10 days, or have been exposed to COVID-19 and told to quarantine in the last 14 days, do not attend holiday gatherings
- If you are at increased risk for severe illness, or live with someone who is, you should not attend large gatherings
- Choose outside events and stay at least 6 feet from others
- Wear a mask indoors and around others, and in crowded outdoor settings, regardless of your vaccination status
- Wash or sanitize your hands and limit contact with shared items
Delay travel until you are fully vaccinated. If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow these tips:
- Before you travel:
- Get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip.
- While you are traveling:
- Wear a mask in public.
- Practice physical distancing with those you are not traveling with.
- Travel with, and consistently use, hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth.
- · After you travel:
- Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel. If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
- Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
- Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms
See CDC’s additional travel guidance for more information.
Virtual Activities and Gifts
Though a huge part of the holiday season is the gathering of loved ones, consider safer alternatives to meeting up with those who are not in your household:
- Consider virtual celebrations and gift exchanges, such as showing off Halloween costumes or enjoying holiday meals via video calls
- Also consider purchasing gifts online and having them delivered or picking them up curbside to limit contact and exposure
- Virtual gifts, such as online gift cards, are ideal since they pass through less hands than more tangible gifts