COVID-19 Holiday and Travel Guidelines

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Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others, but if you must travel, be informed of the risks involved.



Before hosting or attending a holiday event, consider the following factors and assess the risk of getting infected or infecting others with the virus that causes COVID-19. 


Community levels of COVID-19: 

Higher levels of COVID-19 cases and community spread in the gathering location, as well as where attendees are coming from, increase the risk of infection and spread among attendees. Before you depart, look at the Douglas County COVID-19 levels in addition to the levels of your travel destination. Local health departments will usually have the most up-to-date rates. 


Location of gathering: 

Indoor gatherings generally pose a higher risk than outdoor gatherings. If you do plan to gather indoors, choose the largest space possible and open a window or two for added ventilation. 


Duration of gathering: 

Gatherings that last longer pose more risks than shorter gatherings. 


Number of people at gathering: 

Currently, Douglas County recommends people avoid gatherings of more than 45 people, but be sure to check local guidelines at your travel destination. Additionally, it is smart to determine the size of your gathering based on the ability to reduce or limit contact between attendees. 


Locations attendees are traveling from: 

Higher levels of COVID-19 cases and community spread in the gathering location, or where attendees are coming from, increase the risk of infection and spread among attendees.


Behaviors of attendees prior to and during the gathering: 

Gatherings with attendees who are not adhering to social distancing (staying at least 6 feet apart), mask wearing, hand washing, and other prevention behaviors pose more risk than gatherings with attendees who are engaging in these preventative behaviors. Consider putting your own preventative measures in place 


Encourage attendees to look at their community levels of COVID-19 and assessing the risk before attending. 

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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  test results
  • May have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days

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.

Travel recommendations:

If you decide to travel, follow these safety measures during your trip to protect yourself and others from COVID-19:

  • Wear a mask in public settings, like on public and mass transportation, at events and gatherings, and anywhere you will be around other people.
  • Avoid close contact by staying at least 6 feet apart (about 2 arms’ length) from anyone who is not from your household.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Additionally, you can visit the CDC page about travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While at the gathering: 


  • Wear a mask, especially if you are preparing or serving food
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Limit contact surfaces 
    • designate one person to serve food 
    • encourage attendees to bring food and beverages for people in their household


After the celebration: 

If you participated in higher risk activities or think that you may have been exposed during your celebration, take extra precautions (in addition the ones listed above) for 14 days after the event to protect others. 

  • Stay home as much as possible 
  • Consider getting tested for COVID-19

Lower risk activities

  • 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
  • Having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family
  • Shopping online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving or the next Monday
  • Watching sports events, parades, and movies from home


safe celebration

Moderate risk activities

  • Having a small outdoor dinner with family and friends who live in your community
  • Lower your risk by following CDC’s recommendations on hosting gatherings or cook-outs.
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing
  • Attending a small outdoor sports events with safety precautions in place


Higher risk activities

Avoid these higher risk activities to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19:

  • Going shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving
  • Participating or being a spectator at a crowded race
  • Attending crowded parades
  • Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors
  • Attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household

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