Continuing Mitigation Practices During the Holidays
As the CMU community of students, faculty and staff engage in holiday travel and celebrations, the CDC offers considerations to help protect individuals and their families, friends and communities from COVID-19.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fall and winter holiday celebrations such as Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Halloween, Día de los Muertos, Navratri, Diwali, Thanksgiving, Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, typically include large gatherings of families and friends, crowded parties and travel that may put people at increased risk for COVID-19.
The following considerations from the CDC are meant to supplement—not replace—any state, local, territorial or tribal health and safety laws, rules and regulations with which holiday gatherings must comply.
Allegheny County COVID-19 Related Stay-at-Home to Stop Social Gatherings Advisory
Allegheny County is experiencing a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations which, left unchecked, poses a risk to our community and healthcare system. Additional intervention is warranted to moderate case growth and preserve hospital capacity.
It is more important than ever to follow guidance from local, state and federal officials on how to stop the spread of the virus.
As a result, the Director of the Health Department has issued the following COVID-19 advisory:
"Beginning immediately, Allegheny County residents are asked to stay at home to stop social gatherings to stem the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the county. Residents are advised to only leave home to go to work or school, for essential needs such as seeking medical care, going to the grocery store or pharmacy, getting food or the like."
Holiday Travel Strongly Discouraged
Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. If you choose to travel (although highly discouraged), know your travel risk and follow these CDC guidelines:
Wear a facial covering in public settings including on public transportation conveyances and at transportation hubs, at events and gatherings and anywhere you will be around people.
- Avoid close contact by staying at least six feet apart from anyone who is not from your household.
- Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth while traveling.
In-Person Holiday Celebrations Strongly Discouraged
There are several factors that contribute to the risk of getting infected or infecting others with the virus that causes COVID-19 at a holiday celebration.
Allegheny County residents are asked to stay at home to stop social gatherings to stem the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the county. Additionally, residents are strongly encouraged to:
- Not have guests in their homes unless they are essential workers (e.g., home healthcare providers, childcare workers or educators).
- Cancel traditional celebrations and celebrate virtually with non-household members.
- Limit social event gatherings.
- Social event gatherings mean any pair or group of individuals who reside in different households who are in close proximity of one another for more than several minutes who come together for non-business-related activities. Social event gatherings include, but are not limited to, celebrations, parties, dinners, barbeques and the like.
CDC Tips for Holiday Celebrations
Follow these tips from the CDC to reduce your risk of being exposed to, getting or spreading COVID-19 during celebrations.
- Celebrate in person with members of your own household and celebrate virtually with family and friends outside of your household.
- If you will be hosting an in-person celebration, follow these CDC tips for hosting gatherings. Event organizers and attendees should consider the risk of virus spread based on event size and use of mitigation strategies.
- If you will be attending a celebration that someone else is hosting, check with the event host or venue about the COVID-19 safety guidelines they have in place.
- Consider strictly avoiding contact with people outside of your household for 14 days before the gathering.
- During the celebration, social distance, wear masks, limit contact with commonly touched surfaces, wash hands and keep safe around food and drinks.
- After the celebration, stay home as much as possible, avoid being around people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and consider getting tested for COVID-19.
For more resources, visit our University Health Services page, Travel Protocol page and the Pennsylvania Department of Health COVID-19 Information for Travelers page.