Healthier Holidays

Healthier Holidays

With COVID-19 cases on the rise, Wake County has launched the “Healthier Holidays” campaign, which aims to educate residents on proven ways they can limit their exposure to the virus over Thanksgiving break.

The campaign uses a “do this, not that” approach to help everyone clearly see what they can do to make Thanksgiving memories in the midst of COVID-19 – not just what they can’t do. By empowering each resident to make the right choices to protect their loved ones from COVID-19, we can ultimately help defend our entire community from this virus.

Wear a Mask

When people get together in large groups and don’t wear masks, COVID-19 spreads. Wearing a face covering – even when social distancing is possible – lowers the risk of contracting the virus.

Since COVID-19 spreads through droplets, covering your nose and mouth is an essential way to protect yourself and others over the holidays.

Limit the Size of Gatherings

Also, limit the list of people you host for Thanksgiving to those who live with you. Downsizing your dinner party will go a long way towards preventing the virus from spreading.

If that’s not possible, make sure your gathering includes fewer than 10 people if it’s located indoors and fewer than 50 people if it’s held outdoors. The smaller the group, the lower the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Plan Ahead for Mealtime

If you’re hosting a Thanksgiving meal, think in advance about seating arrangements. Wake County Public Health strongly recommends having people who live together sit together. Rather than using one long table, seat guests at several small tables spaced six feet apart.

These easy steps will help facilitate social distancing during a time when you’ll be in close contact with others for more than 15 minutes.

Also, opt for an outdoor setting when possible. If it’s not, open the windows or sliding doors at opposite sides of your home and turn on the fan to improve air circulation. If you have an HVAC system, run the fan for longer periods or continuously, make sure filters are clean and consider upgrading to a higher efficiency filter.

Stop Germs from Spreading

Another important tip is to remind guests to wash or sanitize their hands frequently – not just before they eat. Placing bottles of hand sanitizer throughout the house will keep cleanliness at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

In that same vein, have one person plate all the food and serve it to the guests to reduce potential for spreading germs. Give each guest their own disposable cup and ask them to write their name on it, so there’s no chance of confusing cups and accidentally drinking after a friend or relative.

Hold Virtual Celebrations

When making your Thanksgiving plans, consider using technology to stay connected with the people in your life who may be at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19.

Instead of gathering in person, use a webcam or camera phone to share a meal with older relatives, friends in other cities or states, and loved ones with underlying health conditions like diabetes, cancer or obesity. Virtual celebrations offer many of the perks of a traditional family gathering without the risk of contracting coronavirus.

Shop Online on Black Friday

Black Friday shopping is another tradition that many families and friends enjoy the day after Thanksgiving, as they head to stores to get the best deals on holiday gifts.

This year, because of COVID-19, Wake County Public Health strongly urges people to take advantage of online shopping, as well as curbside or drive-thru pick-up options.

If you can’t shop online, be sure to practice the Three Ws – wear a mask over your nose and mouth, wait six feet apart from others and wash your hands frequently. Seek out stores that sanitize their shopping carts and baskets, follow the state’s capacity guidelines and offer touchless payment options.

Shopping at off-peak times and limiting the size of your group to one or two people – preferably those who live with you – are smart moves, as well.

To hear more from our epidemiologist about slowing the spread of COVID-19 over the holidays, watch this video.