The holidays are an important time for adults and children alike. As we approach the 2021 season, connecting with extended family and friends will require flexibility, and being open to modifying cherished traditions. Nicklaus Children’s Hospital encourages parents and guardians to read our recommended COVID-19 guidelines when planning for, or attending, any upcoming gathering and determining whether or not you and your family will be traveling during the holidays.
As the holiday season approaches, many families look ahead eagerly to safely reconnecting with loved ones. They also feel renewed anxiety as they try to reimagine and plan for this year’s gatherings. Consider the following when determining how you approach holiday gatherings this year:
- Host virtual gatherings: Virtual gatherings are a great way to connect safely with extended family and friends during the holiday season.
- Host small gatherings: Small gatherings can involve family members who live in your same household. Be cautious when inviting any guests since a significant number of infected individuals will have no symptoms and still may pose a risk of infection for close contacts. Provide disposable plates, utensils and cups to avoid sharing items, and have hand sanitizer readily available.
- Host outdoor gatherings: Thanks to our South Florida climate, outdoor holiday celebrations can be an option for some, providing a safer venue than indoor settings. CDC recommendations for social distancing still need to be followed.
- Stay home if you are sick, immunocompromised or have an underlying condition: Just as you would keep your child home from school if he or she is sick, make sure not to attend any gatherings if you or your child aren’t feeling well. If someone in your family is immunocompromised or has an underlying condition, consider staying home to lower his or her risk of contracting COVID-19.
Holiday travel can put you and your loved ones at greater risk for COVID-19 and staying home is the best way to minimize your exposure. If you are considering traveling for a holiday, visit CDC’s Travel page to help you decide what is best for you and your family. CDC still recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated. If you do plan to travel this holiday season, the following safety precautions can help protect you and your family:
- Air travel: If traveling by plane, avoid flights that are heavily booked and keep your household members in the same area of the plane. Some major airlines are maintaining middle seats empty. Maintain masks and social distancing during the flight and at all times.
- Car travel: Traveling by car can help minimize exposure to others. You can further reduce exposure, by minimizing stops.
- Lodgings: Consider avoiding hotels and opting for a vacation home rental, where it will be easier to socially distance. If staying in a hotel or vacation rental, please review the property’s COVID-19 safety protocols prior to booking. Consider eating in your room rather than in the restaurant.
- Travel times: Traveling at off-peak hours can help reduce your exposure to crowds while traveling by air or car.
The Importance of the 2021 Flu Vaccine
Gatherings of any kind can contribute to the spread of other infectious diseases. The flu vaccine helps protect you and your family from the spread of influenza in our community. To learn more about the 2021 flu vaccine, please visit our Flu Vaccine page.
- Protect those not yet eligible for vaccination such as young children by getting yourself and other eligible people around them vaccinated.
- Wear well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth if you are in public indoor settings if you are not fully vaccinated.
- Even those who are fully vaccinated should wear a mask in public indoor settings in communities with substantial to high transmission.
- Do NOT put a mask on children younger than 2 years old.
- Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have a close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
It is important to remember that following COVID-19 guidelines is a combined effort. Together, we can help enhance the health and safety of those in our community.
For more information about COVID-19 and the holiday season, please visit the CDC’s website on Holiday Celebrations.