DPH Releases Thanksgiving Guidance
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has released guidelines for Thanksgiving celebrations
, aimed at minimizing health risks due to COVID-19 during the holiday. General guidelines for interactions with people outside your household include:
- Wear a mask when not eating or drinking
- Wash your hands often with soap and water
- Stay at least six feet apart from others
- Consider if those around you may be at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, such as older adults or those with certain medical conditions, and take extra precautions
- If gathering indoors, improve ventilation by opening windows and doors
Lower-risk celebrations limit gatherings to only people you live with or a small group of individuals with whom you are in frequent contact. DPH emphasizes that the larger the gathering, the larger the risk of transmission. In addition, visits should be kept short – longer gatherings pose more risk than shorter gatherings. DPH encourages virtual holiday dinners with extended family and friends to eliminate the risk of transmission.
Higher-risk celebrations include people who are not in your household or limited social network. These gatherings increase the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19. If you plan to celebrate Thanksgiving in this manner, it is encouraged that you follow these guidelines:
- Wear a mask and social distance at all times
- Encourage guests to bring their own food and drinks; do not share food, drink, or any utensils
- Wear a mask while preparing food; avoid self-serve options. Consider having one person serve all the food so multiple people are not sharing utensils
- Minimize contact with other people for 14 days before and after the gathering, or obtain a negative test result within 72 hours of the celebration
- Consider small seating table arrangements with plenty of space between seats.
- Open the windows to improve ventilation if gathering indoors.
In all cases, people should avoid shaking hands and hugging people, consider verbally greeting each other instead. Also, recognize that singing, dancing, and shouting all increase the chances of COVID-19 being spread through the air.