The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful and isolating for many people. Gatherings during the holiday season can be an opportunity to connect with family and friends, however, consider how your holiday plans can be modified to reduce the spread of COVID-19. DHEC encourages South Carolinians to Be Positive You're Negative by getting tested before and after you choose to attend a gathering or to travel. While testing and knowing your result is important, wearing face masks and social distancing continue to be key in limiting the spread of the virus.
The CDC offers several tips for holiday planning. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
General considerations for winter holidays
People who should not attend in-person holiday celebrations
People with or exposed to COVID-19
Do not host or participate in any in-person festivities if you or anyone in your household:
- Has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and has not met the criteria for when it is safe to be around others
- Has symptoms of COVID-19
- Is waiting for COVID-19 viral test results
- May have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days
- Is at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19
People at increased risk for severe illness
If you are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, or live or work with someone at increased risk of severe illness, you should:
- Avoid in-person gatherings with people who do not live in your household.
- Avoid larger gatherings and consider attending activities that pose lower risk (as described throughout this page) if you decide to attend an in-person gathering with people who do not live in your household.
Lower-risk activities recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) include:
- Having a small dinner with only people who live in your household
- Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others. Currently, CDC says there is no evidence to suggest that handling or consuming food is associated with COVID-19
- Having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family
- Shopping online rather than in person
- Watching sports events, parades, and movies from home
- Virtually attending religious ceremonies to keep you and others safe
- Bundle up and spend time outdoors, which can also support physical and emotional health
Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. If you must travel, short trips by car with members of your own household with no stops along the way are considered low risk. Those traveling longer distances by car should remember that many of their favorite “stopping places” may be closed. “Drive-through only” may also mean restrooms are closed and travelers should plan accordingly. If you must travel, be informed of the risks involved. CDC offers more travel tips here.