Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and Public Health Director Karin Carroll wish to share health and safety guidance for residents as they begin planning their Thanksgiving celebrations this year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traveling increases one’s potential to be exposed to COVID-19 and of potentially spreading it to others. Staying home and observing the holidays with those in your household or hosting a virtual celebration are the best ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
It is important to note that small gatherings are also contributing to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases nationwide, according to the CDC.
“The last thing anyone wants to hear is that the holidays won’t be the same this year because of COVID-19, but that’s the reality we’re all facing,” Mayor Romeo Theken said. “Having a big family dinner with relatives from all over New England or beyond simply isn’t safe. Please consider just celebrating with your household this year. By doing so, you’re protecting yourself and the people you love from this virus.”
“Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to recognize all that we have to be appreciative of, but having the traditional dinner so many of us are accustomed to puts what matters most at risk– the health and wellbeing of our family, friends, and ourselves,” Carroll said. “There are a lot of lower risk alternatives that will allow you and your loved ones to celebrate the holidays safely, and we encourage everyone to consider what changes they need to make to their holiday plans to stay safe.”
The CDC recommends several lower risk activities to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, including:
- Hosting a Thanksgiving meal with only those who live in your household.
- Preparing family and traditional recipes and providing contactless delivery to family and neighbors.
- Hosting a virtual dinner.
- Instead of participating in in-person Black Friday shopping, shop online.
- Watch sports events, parades and movies at home.
Residents are reminded that, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, any time you are around people from outside of your household, you should:
- Wear a face covering, except when eating or drinking.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
- Practice social distancing and maintain six feet of distance from others.
- Be cognizant of those around you who may be at a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, including older adults and those with certain medical conditions.
- Those at a higher risk to become seriously ill from COVID-19, including older adults and those with certain medical conditions, are advised by the CDC to avoid in-person gatherings with those outside of your household. To review information from the CDC regarding who is at a high risk of serious illness from COVID-19, click here.
- If hosting or attending an indoor gathering, open windows and doors to improve ventilation. The Gloucester Health Department also advises that serving utensils, food, drink and eating utensils should not be shared.
Residents are further reminded that, as a result of Gov. Charlie Baker’s Nov. 2 social gatherings order, all indoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 10 people. To review the order, click here.
Additionally, residents are strongly urged to stay home if you or someone in your household currently has COVID-19, has symptoms of COVID-19, is waiting for COVID-19 test results and/or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 over the last 14 days.
College students returning from school for the holidays are encouraged to:
- Get tested.
- Limit their interactions to those in their household where possible.
- Avoid contact with those at a high risk of serious illness from COVID-19, including older adults and those with certain medical conditions.
- Those returning to Massachusetts are required by the state to complete the Massachusetts Travel Form, linked here, and quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours prior to your arrival.
- This excludes those traveling from low-risk states, which as of Monday, Nov. 16 includes Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. To view the latest list of lower-risk states, click here.
For additional guidance for navigating the holidays amid COVID-19 from the CDC, including additional information on hosting or attending a gathering, food and drinks at small gatherings, travel and overnight stays, and what to do if you’re exposed to COVID-19 at a holiday party, click here. For more tips for celebrating Thanksgiving this year from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, click here.