With Thanksgiving right around the corner, Texas enters the holiday season at a time when novel coronavirus is spreading rapidly and hospitalizations continue to rise throughout the state. The Texas Department of State Health Services is providing guidance on how to decrease the risk of spreading COVID-19 during the holidays.
This year, DSHS recommends being safer by celebrating in person with the people who live in your household and connecting virtually with those who live elsewhere.
A virtual Thanksgiving dinner allows friends and family to gather in their own homes and connect online or by phone as they sit down to dinner together. Other safe activities could include watching parades, programs and holiday movies at home or making a meal for a neighbor and delivering it without direct contact.
DSHS recommends those who do choose to gather with people they don’t live with take the following steps to reduce the chances of spreading novel coronavirus:
- Talk ahead of time to set expectations about the precautions everyone should be taking.
- Keep gatherings small.
- Wear a mask with multiple layers that completely covers tje nose and mouth.
- Always maintain 6 feet of physical distance between people who don’t live together.
- Gather and eat outside or, those who do choose to be inside can improve ventilation by opening windows.
- Have guests bring their own food rather than sharing dishes and utensils.
- Frequently clean and disinfect items and surfaces touched by multiple people.
DSHS recommends that people avoid large gatherings, including crowded stores at peak shopping times, as a means to help decrease spread of COVID-19 during the holidays. Instead, the state health officials recommend shopping at less busy times or in open air markets and places where physical distancing is possible.
Washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home when sick can also help prevent COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses from spreading.