As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, Americans are starting to think about the holidays.
But like most events this year, they’ll likely look different due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Friday, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department released guidance encouraging people to celebrate safely by avoiding high-risk activities during the holiday season.
The site, which can be found here, categorizes roughly a dozen activities from low to high risk.
Holiday COVID-19 risks
At the low end of the spectrum, public health officials say having a small dinner with people in your immediate household, delivering food, holiday shopping online and enjoying parades or sporting events from home are the easiest ways to avoid disease transmission.
High-risk activities, on the other hand, include going shopping in crowded stores and attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside your household.
The guidance also offers some tips on travel, acknowledging travel increases the risk of virus transmission and recommends people think carefully about going elsewhere.
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If you do decide to travel, the health department recommends researching COVID-19 levels in those locations, limiting stops and avoiding eating at indoor restaurant spaces.
“Each family will need to decide how much risk they are willing to take when making holiday plans,” the guidance says. “When having this conversation with your family remember to approach others with kindness and empathy. Be transparent about your decision and the reasons that lead you to them, and don’t be afraid to address any concerns you may have.”
To help plan for holiday activities, people can visit the health department’s guidance page for a quiz that scores the level of risk.
Katie Kull covers local government for the News-Leader. Got a story to tell? Give her a call at 417-408-1025 or email her at email@example.com. You can also support local journalism at News-Leader.com/subscribe.