Considerations For Small Gatherings of Family and Friends
By: CDC, Division of Viral Diseases
Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household (who are consistently taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19) poses the lowest risk for spread. Your household is anyone who currently lives and shares common spaces in your housing unit (such as your house or apartment).
People who do not currently live in your housing unit, such as college students who are returning home from school for the holidays, should be considered part of different households. There are several factors that contribute to the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 at small in-person gatherings.
In combination, these factors will create various amounts of risk:
• Community Levels of COVID-19 : High or increasing levels of COVID-19 cases in the gathering location, as well as in the areas where attendees are coming from, increase the risk of infection and spread among attendees. Family and friends should consider the number of COVID -19 cases in their community and in the community where they plan to celebrate when deciding to host or attend a gathering. Information on the number of cases in an area can often be found on the local health department website.
• Exposure During Travel: Airports, bus stations, train stations, public transport, gas stations, and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces.
• Location of the Gathering: Indoor gatherings, especially those with poor ventilation, like small enclosed spaces with no outside air, pose more risk than outdoor gatherings.
• Duration of the Gathering : Gatherings that last longer pose more risk than shorter gatherings. Being within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more greatly increases the risk of becoming sick and requires a 14- day quarantine.
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