CDC recommends smaller, safer celebrations this season

COVID-19 numbers complicate social gatherings during holidays


Infographic, created by Kylee McLaughlin, outlines proper safety precautions to take amidst holiday travels.

Kylee McLaughlin, Features Editor

Less is more this holiday season as health experts and the Center for Disease Control discourage the tradition for families to gather in large groups and ask that people limit travel during the holidays. 

According to the CDC, celebrating virtually or with members of your own household poses the lowest risk for spread.

As cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced new restrictions mid-December: universal mask requirement, curfew, and lower limit on social gatherings from 25 people to 10 people.

According to the Commonwealth of Virginia, Virginia is currently averaging more than 3,700 new COVID-19 cases per day, up from a statewide peak of approximately 1,200 in May.

This means more vacant seats at the dinner table and fewer family faces during holiday celebrations. In a recent Instagram poll conducted by The Current, the majority of students had an average of 4 to 7 people at their table for Thanksgiving.  

“Our family in Pennsylvania made the choice to not come for New Years this year,” said junior Cailan Juhas. “We won’t be able to see my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.”

Thanksgiving posed a concern for some families since it involves the congregation of multiple households at once. Also, masks and social distancing can be a challenge during meals when everyone is seated at one table.

“My family plans to distance ourselves and wear masks when we are not eating,” said freshman Callie Clarkson. “It’s a bit of an inconvenience, but it’s worth it.”

On the other hand, families who only celebrate with their own household will not experience much of a change. 

“My family isn’t very concerned because we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas just the six of us anyway,” said Cailan. “New Years will be different; we will do the same traditions and activities, just with less people.”

More trustful individuals do not suspect that those they gather with are infected.

“This year I don’t feel any danger in going to [my girlfriend’s] house or vice versa because I trust that she would let me know if she was somewhat worried about being exposed to corona,” said junior Joshua Cueva. “We have to be way more careful in scenarios like this, but must not let that discourage us from spending time with people outside our home.”

Those who still intend to celebrate with their whole family can take the proper safety measures to prevent the spread of germs and protect loved ones from getting sick.

“Limit the number of attendees as much as possible to allow people from different households to remain at least six feet apart at all times. Guests should avoid direct contact, including handshakes and hugs, with others not from their household. Host outdoor rather than indoor gatherings as much as possible,” recommended the CDC.