That time of the year is rolling around, the fun holiday season filled with Christmas cookies, decorating the tree with lights and decorations, spending time with family, and having a big family gathering is what everyone looks forward to. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, or Hanukkah, it is a great time to get together with family to spend time with them, catch up on what’s new, and just to overall have a great time.
To make 2020 even worse, the COVID-19 cases are still surging in a third wave all around the world. Many people are falling ill, especially with the change of the seasons, and getting sick with colds and the flu, and potentially COVID-19. You may be wondering if it’s safe to travel and gather with family this holiday season, and while many researchers advise against it, many people will still continue to gather with their families. If you have thought about it and think it’s safe to gather for the holiday season, but you’re not sure how to safely travel there to continue to keep your family safe, here are some of the best ways to stay safe while doing so.
Is it Safe to Gather This Holiday Season?
Make the right decision that you believe is right for the safety of you and your family!
During this unprecedented time COVID-19 is a risk to many, and it is a hard decision to decide whether or not it is safe to gather this holiday season, and there are many factors that go into this decision. You have to think about how many people are going to be there, if it’s an indoor or outdoor gathering, if you have relatives that are 65 or older that are going to be there, and you have to think about your own health and safety before you make a decision.
Even though it can be a big “if” if you’re going to make it to a family event or not for the holidays, you should always be prepared with your own personal protective equipment, or PPE to keep you safe. PPE contains items that will keep you safe from diseases, viruses, harmful bacteria, chemicals, and so much more and for the COVID-19 pandemic, this can include a face mask, hand sanitizer, gloves, antibacterial wipes, and so much more.
It is also recommended that you get tested for COVID-19 before you go to any sort of gathering and that once you’re there, you remain six feet apart while wearing a mask to avoid spreading the harmful virus to your relatives. Check for hot spots in your area, and take this into consideration before you make your decision as well, and if you’re sick, it is best to just stay home.
How to Stay Safe While Travelling During the Holidays
Get Go ranks the top best ways to stay safe while you’re travelling and meeting with loved ones!
1. Make Your Own PPE Kit to Take With You
PPE kits are essential to staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important that you have one with you at all times containing face masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and so much more. Make sure that you have perfected the good hand washing technique and make sure to frequently wash your hands, or use hand sanitizer after touching objects that could be potentially contaminated with harmful bacteria or viruses. PPE kids are essential during COVID-19 to protect not only yourself, but your family, friends, and even strangers around you.
2. Research Where the COVID-19 Hotspots Are Located
It is important to stay up to date on where the COVID-19 hotspots are and what areas are being affected more than others. This to keep you and your family safe if you’re travelling long distances, or going from state to state. Staying out and away from COVID-19 hotspots are necessary to protect the health of you and your family this holiday season, so you don’t have to take the risk of not knowing whether or not you have it or not and potentially spread it to your loved ones. Getting familiar and even staying out of majorly populated cities where hotspots may occur may be your best chance of staying safe while travelling for the holiday season.
3. Get a COVID-19 Test Before and After a Family Function
It is recommended to also take a COVID-19 test before travelling during the holidays. Even if it is just seeing your immediate family, you should take into consideration their health and safety, along with yours, and maybe even your lifestyle and activities outside of seeing your family. If you are an essential worker working directly with people, you work in the office, or even if you’ve been out and about at different restaurants, shops, or anything other public setting. It’s better to be safe than sorry and a COVID-19 test can give you the results that you need to make the right decision.
4. Stay in Hotels if You’re Travelling Long Distances
While many people would think that staying in a hotel during the COVID-19 pandemic is risky, it actually is quite safe. From touchless check ins and check outs, and even housekeeping not coming in while you’re staying in the room, hotels have upped their safety precautions in order to keep you and their employees safe. It is also recommended that you check out the restaurants surrounding hotels to ensure that they are open on your way to your destination and to also check and see if restaurants in the hotel you're staying at are open as well.
5. If Driving, Wear a Mask Anytime You Exit Your Vehicle
While it is not necessary to wear a mask while you’re driving your car, unless you are with family members or people that you haven’t been self-quarantining with, it is necessary to wear a mask anytime you exit your car in order to stay safe. Whether it’s going into a restaurant along the way, getting gas, or even just stopping to get a drink and some snacks in the gas station, it is important to mask up to protect yourself and others while you are travelling. This is especially important if you’re driving from state to state in order to see family members.
Why it is Good For Your Mental Health to See Family During the Holidays
Even though researchers advise against holiday gatherings, sometimes it’s better for someone’s mental health to see them!
Since we have been in self isolation since March, it has taken a toll on the lives of many individuals. With feeling isolated and lonely, the pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of many people over the course of the last eight months. Over 53% of adults have experienced a negative impact on their mental health because of stress and anxiety over COVID-19. Many people have experienced difficulty in sleeping, eating, and there has been a 21% increase in alcohol and substance abuse.
COVID-19 has affected the lives of millions, and the mental health and stability continues to decline as the pandemic wears on. From people being stuck working in their homes, losing their jobs, and even being in complete isolation with not being able to see loved ones. There is also an increased burnout among frontline workers, such as doctors, nurses, cashiers, and many more because of increased anxiety and mental health issues over the course of the pandemic.
Seeing your relatives during the holidays may be essential to your mental health this holiday season. The holidays are a time full of love and full of family gatherings while the specific holiday during the season that is most important to you. As long as you’re staying socially distant, wearing a mask when you’re not eating, and practicing good hand washing hygiene, then you should feel safe enough to celebrate the holidays with your family.
When travelling this holiday season, it is important to keep you and your loved ones safe. From bringing your own PPE kit, researching where the hotspots for COVID-19 are located at, getting a COVID-19 test before and after the family gathering, staying in hotels if necessary, and even just wearing a mask any time you leave your car-- it is important to stay safe during the holiday season. Enjoy this fun time of the year with loved ones while taking the safety precautions necessary to protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19.