Information You Need: How to attend community ceremonies and gatherings during the holidays

The upcoming holidays are usually times when many community and religious ceremonies and gatherings take place. Given the current COVID-19 crisis AND the predictions of further increasing cases, hospitalizations and deaths, we at AZCOVIDTXT recommend you cozy down within your household this year and forego most gatherings. We know it is hard and some of us have personally chosen to miss significant family events; funerals, weddings, birthdays, and holiday gatherings to keep everyone in our family and friend networks safer. It was rough. But the vaccines mean hopefully we can make-up for these missed moments next year.  If you do decide to attend or participate in any gatherings, there are things you can do to be safer.

Before the event:

  1. Do not attend the event if you or anyone in your household is feeling ill, even if it is a mild illness. Take your temperature before going to ensure that you and other family members do not have a fever. Remember a mild case for you may transmit into a severe illness for your loved one. 
  2. Do not attend the event if you or anyone you have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two weeks.
  3. If there is a way to attend the event or ceremony virtually, choose that option. One of us recently attended a family members funeral over a cell phone. Again, this is hard but the best choice for our family. 
  4. If you are traveling to the event check out a recent update by AZCOVIDTXT Dr. Kacey Ernst and fellow faculty member Paloma Beamer for tips on flying safer. [updated recently from our first article]

During the event:

  1. Outdoor gatherings are always better than indoor ones. But this doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want outdoors. Continue to maintain distance and wear masks. 
  2. If the gatherings are indoors in a public place, opt to go at less busy or crowded time.
  3. While attending, wear a cloth face covering. Remember three layers with a polypropylene lining is best. 
  4. Follow physical distancing protocols to maintain 6 feet or more between you and other people that you do not live with. 
  1. Avoid close contact with other individuals (e.g., hand shaking, hugging, etc.).
  2. Bring a 60-70% alcohol based hand sanitizer with you to the gathering.
  3. If you are attending a religious ceremony, avoid sharing worship or other religious materials.
  4. Avoid taking food or beverages, unless they are individual wrapped or pre-packaged. If you do take your own prepared food, it is best to portion out for the households that are there ahead of time and have everyone have their own portions at separate household tables. You can also just order take out and have the restaurant split the packaging by household. 

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