Enjoy the Holidays by Celebrating Safely (COVID-19)

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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. 

Holiday Gatherings

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

Holiday Travel

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

For more tips on staying safe during the holidays, read DHEC’s news release and visit the CDC’s Activities, Gatherings & Holidays page.