Holidays are the one time of the year when family and friends come together in the spirit of togetherness and joy. The one time when we truly celebrate the people in our lives, while maintaining the permanent and temporary relationships of life. And considering the year that 2020 has been, we need them more than ever.
In the interest of the health of our loved ones, the safest way to celebrate would be by staying home. Cook a treat, pour yourself a glass of wine and turn on that meeting online to talk to everyone to your heart’s content. If you are considering travelling, you should reconsider it. And then if you are still considering it, here are some things you must keep in mind to make your trip as safe as possible.
1. Event Size
Please be aware of the number of people at any event that you might be attending. Stepping out itself consists of a substantial risk, which is increased manifold when the gatherings are large. At any event, make sure that you and the event managers are following the Considerations For Events And Gatherings. The better and safer option would be if you are travelling to meet a small group whose safety and safety measures you can reasonably trust.
An outdoor gathering would be safer than an indoor one due to better ventilation. Remember that Covid is an airborne virus.
Keep the duration of the gathering short. It is easy to get swept away in conversation when meeting people for holidays. But you should know that this being ‘swept away’ might sweep you right into quarantine. Gatherings of longer duration pose a greater threat of Covid than shorter ones.
Sanitize everything, do not take off the face mask even for a minute and maintain a distance of 6 ft at all times. These measures will ensure the maximum possible safety when you are within a group of people.
It is hard to not hug a loved one when you see them after a long time, that too after such a year. But know that a moment of restraint will mean a safer and happier future for everyone. Keep this in mind at all times.
A road trip would mean the absolute least exposure to COVID, as compared to other modes of travel. But whether you travel by flight, train, bus or car, while making stops at gas stations and rest stops, maintain social distancing. Similarly, you would be wise to constantly sanitize and never ever take off your face mask. That’s the only way to move from one place to another till this planet is rid of this virus.
3. Food And Drinks
Bring your own food and drinks. Period. It goes without saying that potlucks are a bad idea. Also, it would be great if you could wear a mask while you prepare and serve the food.
Keep designated areas for the food, the eating area and the hand washing area. The people handling the food should be at a minimum.
Let there be no touch dustbins to throw away any leftovers or single use containers. Wash everything, the dishes, the linen and any other stuff once the gathering ends. Also, everyone should wash their hands before and after eating and sanitize the area.
4. Overnight Stays
- Someone who has COVID and doesn’t fulfil the criteria to be around people.
- Have symptoms of COVID.
- Is waiting for the test results of COVID.
- Was exposed to someone with COVID in the last 14 days.
- Is at an increased risk of illness from COVID.
- Older adult or someone who lives with an older adult who is at an increased risk of infection.
If you fall into any of these categories, forget about any gathering or travelling distances, you should not be stepping out of your house, period.
Other than these precautions, some of the tips for overnight stays are:
- Wash your clothes, masks and even your handkerchief as well as sanitize your luggage and handbags upon arrival. Avoid common areas.
- Wash hands, wear masks and maintain social distancing at all times.
- Make sure that where you stay is properly ventilated. Proper air circulation lessens the risk of COVID.
- A tiny tip that goes a long way – be it the overnight stay or the gathering or event itself, make sure you don’t have to shout or talk too loudly. That is to add to the efficacy of the masks.
- If you have pets, treat them as you are treating other people, by keeping them at a distance from others if they are yours, and from yourself if they belong to others.
- Considering the risk of travel and overnight stays, it pays to be paranoid. If anyone around you so much as coughs or sneezes, run for the hills.
- Also, precautions don’t make you immune. That is the cursed nature of this virus. So, make sure that your hosts have a plan in case you get sick.
Steps To Take After The Celebration
- The best thing would be to have stayed at home to begin with. The second-best thing would be to quarantine yourself when you get back home for 14 days. Wait for a few days to see if any symptoms arise. If they do, get tested immediately.
- In case you test positive for COVID, notify the hosts so that they may inform the other attendees as well to get tested.
- If you test negative for COVID, you can thank your stars for being in your favour, but after finishing the 14 days in quarantine, because that’s how long it sometimes takes for the symptoms to appear.
- Get information for COVID testing. You may never step out of the house, but this is information everyone should know.
It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to just stay home. But in case the alternative is your choice, it is beyond mandatory to follow each and every one of these precautions. And religiously sanitize, wash hands, wear masks and maintain social distancing. That is your only protection when you step out into the world. Given all that, you can cross your fingers for a safe holiday with enough happiness to make it all worth it. Wish you a happy and safe holiday!