Tips for Festive and Safe Holiday Gatherings

December 15, 2021
Seema Otoya

This time last year, we still had more questions than answers about COVID-19 and vaccines were not yet available. Many people spent the holidays alone at home out of an abundance of caution. Others got together with friends and family, but may have inadvertently contributed to a rise in infections. 

This year is different: We know a lot more about this dreaded virus and most of us are vaccinated too. We are eager to finally spend time with loved ones over the holidays, even as we scan the headlines for news of the new Omicron variant.

This holiday season we need to make it our collective mission to spread good cheer, not COVID-19!  Start by making sure you and yours are vaccinated, and, if possible, “boosted” to reduce the spread and severity of any infection. And, if you are planning on hosting any holiday gatherings, be smart about making your event as safe as it is festive.

In addition to limiting the number of households that are mingling, encouraging your guests to get vaccinated in advance, holding your event outdoors or in a well-ventilated space, and masking indoors, which is once again being mandated in states like California, consider using testing as part of your strategy. 

By making sure none of your guests are inadvertently harboring an asymptomatic infection, you can keep your holiday gathering from being the source of another COVID-19 outbreak. (After all, it’s no fun having to contact guests after your holiday get together only to let them know they’ve been exposed to a potentially fatal virus!)

How to deal with unvaccinated family members

Below are some of the testing options you might want to consider, especially for unvaccinated guests:

  • In-person and onsite testing for your guests: Sprinter Health will send trained medical professionals to your home to perform convenient and affordable COVID-19 testing. We can even come to your party to test all guests upon arrival. Consider serving drinks outdoors while your guests await the results, which are available in 15 minutes or less. The tests can’t promise that your guest hasn’t been exposed, but they can indicate that they aren’t shedding enough virus to be contagious. You can learn more about Sprinter Health’s COVID-19 service here.

    Our services are currently available in and around Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area, and Sacramento. If you live in an area where Sprinter Health isn’t yet available, follow us on social media to be notified as we expand our services to new areas.

  • Buy rapid antigen tests online or at your local drugstore and make them available to guests: Some hosts are even delivering tests to their guests’ homes so they can test themselves before heading out to the party. One Thanksgiving host even promised to deliver the full holiday meal to anyone forced to stay home because of a positive COVID-19 test!  Cost per test can vary.

  • Require proof of a negative test. If you decide to make this a requirement for guests, you might want to consider including helpful links to testing sites in your community, links to at-home services like Sprinter Health, or shopping links for rapid tests. 

This holiday season is bound to be more festive than last year’s. There is no reason not to get together with friends and family as long as we are all smart about reducing the risk of infection. Here’s to a joyous and safe holiday season! 

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