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A Very COVID Christmas

Many of us in Fayetteville, NC were hoping to use the Holiday Season as a way to make up for all of the missed events of 2020.  But, true to form, 2020 has thrown a wrench into our plans.  With the COVID-19 epidemic worsening it may be smart to rethink how we spend the holidays this year.    

If you were planning to travel for the holidays, the CDC suggests you consider staying home.  That is truly the best way to protect yourself, and others. But, if you must, then travel smart.  And, be sure to check the guidelines for both North Carolina and the state you are traveling to regarding quarantines, etc. 

  • Driving to your destination will limit your exposure to the virus.  

  • If you need to take public transport then, if your schedule allows, consider traveling during non-peak times.

  • And of course, pack plenty of hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and extra masks.

  • If your travel includes being a guest in someone’s home make sure you and your hosts have a clear plan of what is expected of you.  

  • Change out of your travel clothes upon arrival and store your belongings away from common-use areas

 

Some of these suggestions may seem overly cautious, but having a clear plan can lead to a peace of mind.

If you are playing host to overnight guests then make sure you and your guests are on the same page as to what’s expected.

 

  • Keep plenty of hand sanitizer for them. 

  • Provide them with disinfectant wipes to clean hard surfaces after they use them.

  • If sharing a bathroom set a schedule for bathing and make sure it gets cleaned after each use.

  • Ask your guests to wash their own dishes or place them in the dishwasher themselves.  

 

If your guests see that you take their health seriously then hopefully they will return the favor.

If your plans include a gathering:

 

  • Keep the gathering small so there can be some social distancing.

  • Weather permitting, have the party outside. You could plan for earlier in the day to increase the chances of warmer weather. Keeping in mind that a tent with closed sides has less ventilation than being inside

  • If inside, keep windows and doors open to improve ventilation.

  • Put the air conditioning/heating on continuous circulation and consider upgrading your filter to the highest rated.

  • Avoid using area fans as this will just blow air from one person to another.

  • Have ALL GUESTS WEAR A MASK except when eating/drinking.  And make sure guests keep their masks to themselves when they aren’t wearing them.

  • This year skip the family sing-along.  And have the ambient noise down so guests don’t have to shout at each other to be heard.  Singing and yelling increases the range that particles can travel.  

  • Quarantine the pets while company is in the house.  There have been cases of pets being infected with the virus, though the chances of them spreading it back to people is low.  But, for Scruffy’s sake, err on the side of caution.

 

There is no current evidence that the virus is spread through food, or through the handling and serving of food.  The possibility comes in with multiple people handling the food containers, or serving utensils.  Here are some tips to help reduce any possible spread at dinnertime: 

  • Consider having guests bring their own meals/drinks.  The point is to be together.

  • If cooking for the group, have one person do the preparation and wear a mask/gloves.

  • Don’t do buffet style.  Have one person responsible for the serving, rather than multiple people touching the utensils.  Have them wear a mask.

  • Use disposable utensils/plates/cups and make everyone responsible for their own clean-up

  • Don’t spare the disinfectant wipes--use them liberally on all commonly touched areas.

  • Keep an open trash can so guests don’t have to touch the lid.

 

Many of these precautions may seem daunting, but really it all comes down to the suggestions you’ve heard all year:

  • WASH YOUR HANDS (perhaps bring/wear disposable gloves)

  • WEAR A MASK

  • SOCIAL DISTANCE

  • CLEAN COMMONLY TOUCHED SURFACES

 

If it all seems too much, there is no shame in staying home this year.  Or planning something small with just the members of your household.  Go for a socially distanced intimate gathering and save the big celebrations for next year.

And, boy, what celebrations we’ll have!!