As many people in Missouri being to plan for fall and winter holiday celebrations, DHSS would like to remind Missourians of the following considerations and recommendations from the CDC to help protect individuals and their families, friends, and communities from COVID-19. These considerations and recommendations are meant to supplement, not replace, any local health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which holiday gatherings must comply. When planning to host a holiday celebration, you should assess current COVID-19 levels and vaccination rates in your community and amongst attendees to determine whether to postpone, cancel, or limit the number of attendees.
Safer Ways to Celebrate Holidays
Holiday traditions are important for families and children. There are several ways to enjoy holiday traditions and protect your health. Because many generations tend to gather to celebrate holidays, the best way to minimize COVID-19 risk and keep your family and friends safer is to get vaccinated if you are eligible. You can find a vaccine near you at MOStopsCOVID.com.
Here are safer ways to celebrate the holidays:
- 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.
- Outdoors is safer than indoors.
- Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.
- If you are sick or have symptoms, don’t host or attend a gathering.
- Get tested in you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have a close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
If you are considering traveling for a holiday or event, 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 are not fully vaccinated and must travel, follow CDC’s domestic travel or international travel recommendations for unvaccinated people.
- If you will be traveling in a group or family with unvaccinated people, choose safer travel options.
- Everyone, even people who are fully vaccinated, is required to wear a mask on public transportation and follow international travel recommendations.
- People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system may not be fully protected even if they are fully vaccinated and have received an additional dose. They should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitted mask, until advised otherwise by their health care provider.
- You might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission if a member of your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated.
- If you are gathering with a group of people from multiple households and potentially from different parts of the country, you could consider taking additional precautions (e.g., avoiding crowded indoor spaces before travel, taking a test) in advance of gathering to further reduce risk.
- Do NOT put a mask on children younger than 2 years old.
By working together, we can enjoy safer holidays, travel, and protect our own health as well as the health of our families, friends, and communities.
General considerations for fall and winter holidays
Fall and winter celebrations, such as Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Halloween, Dia de los Muertos, Navratri, Diwali, Thanksgiving, Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and New Year’s, typically include large gatherings of families and friends, crowded parties, and travel that may put people at increased risk for COVID-19.
For additional guidance related to specific holiday celebrations, visit the CDC Holiday Guidance page.
Get your flu vaccine
Gatherings can contribute to the spread of other infectious diseases. Getting a flu vaccine is an essential part of protecting your health and your family’s health this season. October is a good time to get vaccinated. However, flu vaccines are still useful any time during the flu season and can often be accessed into January or later.