Halloween is the unofficial kick-off to the rapidly approaching holidays. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 virus is still very present. I’m sure we all remember what it was like to be separated from our friends and family during the lockdown and we don’t want to go through that again. To avoid that, the CDC has recommended things that will keep everyone at the holiday gatherings safe and healthy.
The first thing you should do before going to any gatherings is to make sure you’re vaccinated. By being vaccinated, you’ll be able to better fight against the virus if you were to come in contact with it. You’ll also be protecting those that you come in contact with, especially if they’re not eligible for the vaccine or are more susceptible to catching the virus.
Being vaccinated isn’t the endpoint of staying healthy and protected. Even if you’re fully vaccinated, it is still recommended that you wear a mask or face covering over your mouth and nose when social distancing can’t be practiced.
The CDC discourages traveling if you aren’t fully vaccinated, but there are recommendations for unvaccinated people that will keep them safe. These recommendations include wearing face masks and coverings when in public. The CDC also recommends practicing social distancing and cleansing your hands with hand sanitizer and antibacterial soap often.
“Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations,” said the CDC.
Even if you are fully vaccinated and are following COVID-19 protocol, if you’re feeling any symptoms, you should stay home. As sad as it is to miss out on seeing family, the most important thing is for everyone to stay safe and healthy.
If you are planning to attend or have a holiday gathering, it wouldn’t hurt to get a COVID test at least 48 hours before the event. If all the guests have tested negative there is a level of anxiety that may be lifted. Because there are no certainties about who will or won’t get the virus, it’s best to air on the side of caution. For indoor settings, still wear a mask and make sure windows are open to circulate fresh air.
If you’re eligible and you haven’t already, get vaccinated. Get the booster shot. Wear a mask or face covering when you can’t practice social distancing. Practice social distancing and cleanse your hands with hand sanitizer and antibacterial soap often.
By Cierra Lemott, Sophomore, Columbia College Chicago
Instagram & Snapchat: @cece.kodak