CDC issues new guidelines to celebrate the holidays in 2021 – NBC Chicago

As the coronavirus pandemic continues into a second holiday season, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released updated guidelines for those looking to celebrate safely.

According to the agency, although the worst of the summer pandemic wave past, the safest way to celebrate remains virtually or outdoors.

“Attending gatherings to celebrate events and holidays increases your risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19,” the guide says. “The safest way to celebrate is virtually, with people who live with you, or outside and at least 6 feet from each other.”

But for those who still want to congregate indoors when the outdoors isn’t an option, the CDC recommends bringing in some fresh air.

“If you’re celebrating indoors, let in some fresh air by opening windows and doors, if possible,” says its guidelines for holiday celebrations. “You can use a window fan in one of the open windows to blow air out the window. It will pull in cool air through the other open windows.”

Here’s what the CDC recommends for “safe celebrations”:

  • Host a video chat party with your family and friends to share the celebration.
  • Plan a special meal with people who live with you inspired by the vacation or event.
  • Hold an outdoor celebration with everyone at least 6 feet apart.
  • Watch virtual events and celebrations.
  • Drive or walk in your community to greet neighbors from a safe distance.
  • Bring food or a gift to family, friends and neighbors in a way that does not involve contact with others, such as leaving them at the door.
  • Host a virtual dance party and collaborate with your friends and family on a playlist.
  • Celebrate outdoors with your neighbors and friends.
  • Attend a virtual ceremony or celebration.

And here are some recommendations for making in-person celebrations safer:

  • Get vaccinated when you are eligible.
  • Know when wear a mask.
  • If you are not fully immunized and are 2 years of age or older, you should wear a mask in indoor public places.
    • In general, you do not need to wear a mask outdoors.
      • In areas with high number of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor areas and for activities with close contact with other people who are not fully immunized.
  • Outdoor activities are safer than gatherings indoors.
  • Have conversations in advance to understand the expectations for celebrating together.
  • Do not attend or organize a rally if you are sick or have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If you’re celebrating indoors, let in some fresh air by opening windows and doors, if possible. You can use a window fan in one of the open windows to blow air out of the window. This will draw in fresh air through the other open windows.

Thinking of traveling for the holidays? Here are some recommendations:

The CDC recommends that those who are not fully vaccinated delay any travel plans.

  • If you are not fully vaccinated and need to to travel, here are the CDC Interior journey Where Travelling abroad recommendations for unvaccinated people.
  • If you are traveling with unvaccinated people, such as children under 12 who are not eligible for vaccines, follow the recommendations for unvaccinated people and choose the safer travel options.
  • Everyone, even people who have been fully vaccinated, will always be mandatory to wear a mask on public transport.

The CDC’s latest guidance comes after Chicago announced the return of some of the city’s popular in-person vacation traditions.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said on Thursday that in-person festivities would return this year, starting with Halloween.

According to the mayor’s office and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Halloween community events will return across town.

Plus, winter traditions will return to Millennium Park, including ice skating and the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, which takes place on November 19.

Last year, the Christmas tree lighting ceremony went virtually and the Millennium Park McCormick Tribune rink closed for the season.

The Chicago Department of Health said it plans to release updated Halloween guidelines later this week.

“The CDPH is following the CDC and recommends people consult with them if they have any questions in the meantime,” the department told NBC 5 in a statement.

The Illinois Department of Health did not respond to requests for comment.

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