COVID-19 Holiday Guides

Thanksgiving

Halloween

Sukkot

Thanksgiving

The Health Department does not encourage Baltimore City residents to plan or attend large family gatherings this year for the holidays, especially if members of your family will be traveling from areas of the country with higher rates of community transmission or if there are high-risk family members. People who are sick, or who have been exposed to COVID-19, should not attend gatherings. People who are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should avoid large gatherings, and consider attending virtual or low-risk activities.

Celebrating the holidays with members of your immediate household is generally considered safest. Individuals and families must make the best decisions to protect themselves and their families by following harm reduction guidance that help reduce the chances of disease transmission.


 Please keep in mind a few general harm reduction tips about family gatherings.

  • Outdoor gatherings are safer than indoor gatherings.
  • Indoor gatherings with ventilation are safer than closed, indoor spaces.
  • Time is a factor: The longer you are around others, the higher the chance of disease transmission.
  • Consider a virtual holiday celebration. 
  • Wear a mask when 6 feet of separation cannot be maintained.

 As a reminder, under Phase 1, gatherings in Baltimore City are limited to no more than 10 people.

Traveling for the Thanksgiving

For those who are still considering traveling, despite our warnings and the CDC's recommendation that celebrating with your household is safest, there are several other factors we’d urge you to consider.

    • Any Marylander returning from out of state or any out of state traveler should get tested for COVID-19 on arrival or within 72 hours before travel to Maryland.
    • Any Marylander who travels to a state with a COVID-19 test positivity rate above 10% OR case rate over 20 per 100,000 in the past 7 days should get tested and self-quarantine at home until the test result is received.
      • Visit this site to find out each state’s case rate and test positivity. The higher the case rate or test positivity the more likely you are to get infected and spread the virus to others
    • Check to see if your destination has requirements or restrictions for travel.
      • Check state, territorial, tribal, and local public health websites for information before you travel.
      • If you are traveling internationally, check the CDC’s Travel Recommendation by Destination, and the destination’s Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health or the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Country Information for details about entry requirements and restrictions for arriving travelers, such as mandatory testing or quarantine.
    • Ask your host about the COVID-19 precautions they are taking.
    • Do not attend if you are not feeling well.
    • Limit your exposure, and reduce your activities with that outside of your household, for 2 weeks before attending an event. 
    • Wear a Mask, even around family!

Hosting for Thanksgiving

For those who are still considering hosting a gathering, despite our warnings and the CDC's recommendation that celebrating with your immediate household is safest, there are several other factors we’d urge you to consider.

  • Require masks to be worn.
  • If possible, host the event outdoors.
  • Keep the event short in duration.
  • No Buffets or Shared Utensils.
    • Instead, offer individually-packaged foods or have one person serve.
  • Require guests to wash their hands frequently during the event.

 

Virtual Thanksgiving is better than an ICU Christmas

Halloween

Halloween is fast approaching, and by being safe and planning ahead Baltimore, we can make sure that we get through the holiday season without seeing a significant spike in new COVID-19 cases. Use these Halloween suggestions from the CDC to think through how you and your family will celebrate Halloween this year!

Remember, regardless of age- traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, indoor house parties, and indoor haunted houses are not advisable during an active pandemic, and can significantly increase the chances of disease transmission!

Ideas for Halloween at Home! -No mask required!

  • Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them
  • Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends
  • Decorating your house, apartment, or living space
  • Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with
  • Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house

Halloween outside the Home-Face Cloth Covering required!

  • Participating in one-way trick-or-treating, where individually wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go while continuing to social distance (such as at the end of a driveway or at the edge of a yard)
    • If you are preparing goodie bags, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparing the bags.
  • Having a small group, outdoor, open-air costume parade where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart
  • Attending a costume party held outdoors where protective masks are used and people can remain more than 6 feet apart
  • Going to an open-air, one-way, walk-through haunted forest where appropriate mask use is enforced, and people can remain more than 6 feet apart
    • If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus.
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing
  • Having an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family friends with people spaced at least 6 feet apart
    • If screaming will likely occur, greater distancing is advised. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of spreading a respiratory virus.
    • Lower your risk by following CDC’s recommendations on hosting gatherings or cook-outs.

Halloween Infographics


(Right Click and Save as .jpg for use!)

Keep Yourself and Others Safe! Tips for Halloween at Home in Infographic Form Tips for Halloween Outside the Home in Infographic Form Tips for Halloween Outside the Home in Infographic Form

Tips for Halloween Outside the Home in Infographic Form Tips for Halloween Outside the Home in Infographic Form Tips for Halloween Outside the Home in Infographic Form Learn more at coronavirus.baltimorecity.gov

Sukkot

If you plan to go sukkah hopping this year, keep these tips in mind

  • Wear a face-covering whenever you are inside a sukkah, or cannot maintain 6 feet of separation outside.
  • Limit the number of people in each sukkah, and the amount of time spent in a sukkah with people outside of your household
  • If you are exchanging candy or snacks, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after.
  • If washing hands frequently isn’t possible, have hand sanitizer available that is at least 70% alcohol.
  • If your sukkah has windows, leave them open to help with ventilation.

List of Sukkot safety tips for COVID-19