As many people begin to plan for fall and winter holiday celebrations, CDC offers the following considerations to help protect individuals, their families, friends, and communities from COVID-19. These considerations are meant to supplement—not replace—any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which holiday gatherings must comply.
When planning to host a holiday celebration, you should assess current COVID-19 levels in your community to determine whether to postpone, cancel, or limit the number of attendees.
Virus spread risk at holiday celebrations
Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household poses low risk for spread. But in-person gatherings pose varying levels of risk.
Event organizers and attendees should consider the risk of virus spread based on event size and use of mitigation strategies. There are several factors that contribute to the risk of getting infected or infecting others with the virus that causes COVID-19 at a holiday celebration. In combination, these factors will create various amounts of risk, so it is important to consider them individually and together:
• Community levels of COVID-19
Higher levels of COVID-19 cases and community spread in the gathering location, as well as where attendees are coming from, increase the risk of infection and spread among attendees. Family and friends should consider the number and rate of COVID-19 cases in their community and in the community where they plan to celebrate when considering whether to host or attend a holiday celebration. Information on the number of cases in an area can be found on their area’s health department website.
• The location of the gathering
Indoor gatherings generally pose more risk than outdoor gatherings. Indoor gatherings with poor ventilation pose more risk than those with good ventilation, such as those with open windows or doors.
• The duration of the gathering
Gatherings that last longer pose more risk than shorter gatherings.
• The number of people at the gathering
Gatherings with more people pose more risk than gatherings with fewer people. CDC does not have a limit or recommend a specific number of attendees for gatherings. The size of a holiday gathering should be determined based on the ability to reduce or limit contact between attendees, the risk of spread between attendees, and state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations.
• The locations attendees are traveling from
Gatherings with attendees who are traveling from different places pose a higher risk than gatherings with attendees who live in the same area. Higher levels of COVID-19 cases and community spread in the gathering location, or where attendees are coming from, increase the risk of infection and spread among attendees.
• The behaviors of attendees prior to the gathering
Gatherings with attendees who are not adhering to physical distancing (staying at least 6-feet apart), mask wearing, hand washing, and other prevention behaviors pose more risk than gatherings with attendees who are engaging in these preventative behaviors.
• The behaviors of attendees during the gathering
Gatherings with more preventive measures, such as mask wearing, social distancing, and hand washing, in place pose less risk than gatherings where fewer or no preventive measures are being implemented.
When to avoid hosting
or attending gatherings
Do not host or participate in in-person holiday functions if you or anyone in your household:
• Has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and has not met the criteria for when it is safe to be around others
• Has symptoms of COVID-19
• Is waiting for COVID-19 viral test results
• May have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days
• Is at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19