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Winter Holiday 2020 Safety Tips

COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are surging state-wide and Buncombe County experienced a significant spike after the Thanksgiving holidays. We want to keep you and your family and friends safe during the holiday season so that we don’t continue to see a surge in cases. We know that the holiday season is usually the time for reuniting with family and friends that may live in different parts of the country. This year, we strongly recommend that households stay home and connect with each other virtually.

Season’s Greetings Without the Meetings

The safest way to celebrate the holidays is to spend time with only people who live in your household. If you risk seeing people outside your household, hosting or attending a small socially distanced outdoor dinner is best for reducing risk. If spending time with others make sure to stay outside, wear a mask and keep 6 feet of distance between each other at all times.

If an outdoor dinner is not feasible and you risk attending a winter holiday celebration indoors with people outside of your household, take great care and consider vulnerable family members when planning.

If you are spending time indoors during the winter holidays, consider the following:

  • Practice the 3Ws (Wear, Wait, Wash) both indoors and outdoors
  • Keep windows open or crack a window every so often to increase ventilation
  • Limit the number of people attending your gathering - No more than 10 people indoors
  • Enforce mask wearing and good hygiene practices when preparing and serving food
  • Use disposable utensils and dishes
  • Encourage guests to bring their own food and drinks, if possible
  • Avoid self-serve food and, alternatively, designate one person to serve food
  • Separate people to eat at different tables or in different rooms
  • Designate someone to clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces, such as door handles, sink handles, and bathroom surfaces every so often

Remember, the combination of mask-wearing AND social distancing is key to limiting exposure. You want to follow as many of these safety practices as close as possible in order to build layers of protection around yourself and your loved ones.

Use the COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool, developed by the Georgia Institute of Technology, to determine the risk of at least one person being COVID-19 positive at an event in a county, considering the size of the event. You can use the slider to adjust for event size and then zoom in to view information for a county. For example, if you attend a gathering in Buncombe County with 15 people today, there is a 27% chance that at least one person will be COVID-19 positive at the event. The variation of risk across the country is vast, which is another reason we strongly discourage travel.

Our number one priority is to keep you, your loved ones, and our community safe during the holiday season. We are thankful for the strength our community has shown throughout this trying time. With your help, we can continue to slow the spread of coronavirus while still having a fun and fulfilling holiday.