Department of Defense Education Activity

Ensuring a Safe Holiday Season

The holidays bring opportunities to celebrate special traditions and meaningful moments with the people in our lives. When planning, these Holiday Planning Safety Tips can help protect you, your family, friends, and your community from COVID-19.


Travel Considerations

If traveling this holiday season, consider the mode of transportation (plane, car, bus, train), the dates your will be traveling, and your risk to COVID-19 exposure while traveling. Carry a small personal sanitizing kit that contains hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, and extra masks. Driving your own vehicle will reduce your exposure to COVID-19. If you need to use commercial or public transportation, be aware of and try to avoid the busiest travel times.

Know when to delay or cancel your travel. Do not travel if you are sick with fever, cough, or other symptoms of COVID-19.

Overnight Guests

If you plan to have or be an overnight guest, the host and guests should communicate about what is expected ahead of time. Consider the health of those in your home and those visiting, including older adults and individuals with medical conditions that put them at higher risk of severe illness. Encourage your guests to help maintain and disinfect high-use surfaces. Individual bathing towels, hand towels, or paper hand towels should be made available.

Holiday Shopping

Lower Risk

Consider shopping online. Many retailers have options for online shopping and in-person, contactless curbside or drive-up pick-up. If using in-person contactless pick-up, you and the retail personnel should wear masks.

Medium Risk

If you choose to shop in-person, wear your mask and maintain 6 feet of distance between you and others. Try to shop at off-peak times when there are fewer shoppers. Many retailers disinfect their carts or offer sanitizing wipes to allow you to wipe down the cart. Be sure to sanitize upon entrance and exit from stores and wash your hands for 20 seconds upon your return home. Store a well-stocked “sanitizing kit” in your vehicle that includes hand sanitizer, wipes, disinfectant spray, mask, and paper towels.

Higher Risk

High-risk activities include in-person sale promotions or holiday activities that encourage large crowds and lining up for limited supply deals, which make social distancing a challenge.

Holiday Meals

For many, the holidays include having family and friends together to share a meal. The following are tips to help with safer meal preparation and serving.

  • Limit the number of people for which social distancing is possible before, during, and after the meal.
  • Consider single-use disposable utensils and dishware for serving and eating meals.
  • Encourage guests to wear a mask except to eat and to drink. Have an extra supply of masks, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol, and tissues on hand.
  • Wash and disinfect guest areas before and after holiday gatherings.
  • Encourage guests to bring food and drinks for themselves and for members of their own household only.
  • Use single-use options or identify one person to serve sharable items, like salad dressings, food containers, plates and utensils, and condiments.
  • Limit the number of people that go in and out of areas where food is prepared or handled.
  • Limit gathering in the kitchen and clean-up areas to same household members.

As a part of supporting good health during the holiday season also get your annual flu vaccine to protect you and your family against the flu.

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