IDPH gives tips on celebrating the holidays during the pandemic

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A rendering of coronavirus via the CDC.

ILLINOIS (WCIA) — The holidays are coming up and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) released some tips on how to celebrate and stay safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“While the safest way to celebrate is with members of your household and connecting with others virtually, we know, for many, the holidays are all about family and friends, ” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “so we want to provide some tips on how to celebrate safer.”

The first tip IDPH mentioned pertained to transportation and the increased chances of spreading COVID-19 by traveling. They said traveling by plane or bus could mean standing in lines and sitting less than six feet apart for long periods. Those who travel in the car could also make stops for gas and food. IDPH recommends decreasing the chance of spreading the virus by wearing a face mask while traveling.

If you are hosting a gathering, IDPH said you may want to limit how many people attend. You may also want to have as many activities outside, weather permitting. “If your gathering needs to be inside, try to increase air flow by partially opening windows. Please prepare yourself and your guests to wear masks indoors when not eating and drinking.”

They mentioned also thinking about seating arrangements and keep members of the same household together and try to put space in between each family. Also, if you are serving a meal try to avoid buffet-style or a potluck and “consider having one person serve all the food so that multiple people are not handling the serving utensils.”

IDPH said you should also limit how much you do for two weeks leading up to the day of your event. They stated this will decrease the risk of virus exposure.

When it comes to holiday shopping, IDPH recommends shopping online through local stores’ websites and then choosing a pick-up option. They mentioned grocery shopping online and having it ready for curbside pick-up or have the order delivered. However, if you need to shop in-person, officials recommend going during a time when the store is not as crowded.

IDPH is also asking those who are sick to not travel or attend gatherings. “Even if your symptoms are mild, you may still may be able to infect others, and no one wants the gift of sickness this season.” They also mentioning getting your flu shot now to

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