CDC: Essential Highlights on Thanksgiving, Travel, and Gatherings

CDC: Essential Highlights on Thanksgiving, Travel, and Gatherings

Below, we offer direct quotes from the CDC’s general holiday page that expand on their common COVID guidance. These recommendations could be applied to aging services providers’ congregate living settings. Hyperlinks are included where additional, detailed information is available.

Explicit guidance on who “should not attend in-person holiday gatherings.”

  • Beyond all the ‘usual’ groups who are in the high risk categories, CDC directly states here that “if you are an older person… you should avoid in-person gatherings with people who are not in your household.” Interpretation of this for residents of aging services provider communities can vary, but many members have concluded that this means either ‘residents who live together’ or ‘residents of the same cohort,’ such as assisted living or the nursing home.

Hosting or Attending a Gathering:

  • “Getting a flu vaccineis an essential part of protecting your health and your family’s health this season.
  • Guests should avoid direct contact, including handshakes and hugs, with others not from their household.
  • Even outdoors, require guests to wear masks when not eating or drinking.
  • All attendees should have a plan for where to store their maskwhile eating and drinking.
  • Encourage guests to avoid singing or shouting, especially indoors. Keep music levels down so people don’t have to shout or speak loudly to be heard.
  • Plan ahead and ask guests to avoid contact with people outside of their households for 14 days before the gathering.
  • Treat petsas you would other human family members – do not let pets interact with people outside the household.”

Food and Drink at Small Gatherings:

  • “Have one person who is wearing a mask serve all the food so that multiple people are not handling the serving utensils.
  • Avoid crowded buffet and drink stations.
  • Change and launder linen items (e.g., seating covers, tablecloths, linen napkins) immediately following the event.”

Travel and Overnight Stays:

  • “Wear maskswhile inside the house. Masks may be removed for eating, drinking, and sleeping, but individuals from different households should stay at least 6 feet away from each other at all times.
  • Hosts and guests should have a plan for what to do if someone becomes sick.
  • Improve ventilation by opening windows and doors or by placing central air and heating on continuous circulation.”

If Exposed to COVID during the Holiday:

Thanksgiving Specific:

  • “Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.
  • Have a small outdoor mealwith family and friends who live in your community.
  • Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen.
  • Limit the number of guests.
  • Consider other Thanksgiving alternatives, such as: getting together virtually with family and friends outside of your household, playing games or watching parades and sports together at home, shopping online on the day after Thanksgiving and using contactless delivery.
  • Safely prepare traditional dishes and deliver them to family and neighbors in a way that does not involve contact with others (for example, leave them on the porch).
  • Participate in a gratitude activity, like writing down things you are grateful for and sharing with your friends and family.”




Laura Hofmann, MSN, RN – Director of Clinical and Nursing Facility Regulatory Services
c: 425-231-4804

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November 18, 2020