Health Department offers Thanksgiving and small gathering guidance

Geneseo Republic

The Henry and Stark County Health Departments, in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), note that Illinois families are starting to plan for Thanksgiving.  We know small social gatherings are places where COVID-19 can quickly spread. Also, as we start thinking ahead to special holidays and family get-togethers the Health Department and IDPH is providing the following guidance to allow for safe Holiday celebrations.

     Here are some tips to help small social gatherings greatly reduce the propensity for spread during this time of pandemic. Small holiday gatherings must be planned with great care in order to be as safe as possible.

▪ Encourage family and guests to get vaccinated before the planned gathering.

▪ Gathering outdoors, when weather permits and/or incorporating weather-appropriate clothes, is the safest option for gatherings.

▪ If indoors, gather in small groups that allow for physical distancing. Consider wearing a well-fitted mask when indoors, even if fully vaccinated, to prevent spreading COVID-19 and to maximize protection for guests and family members who are not fully vaccinated.

▪ Consider alternative greetings to decrease risk. Use hand sanitizer after shaking hands.

▪ Arrange spacious seating to help prevent crowding in your home, especially when eating.

▪ Open windows as much as possible (weather permitting) in the home for fresh air to help with indoor ventilation.

▪ Clean and sanitize kitchen and bathrooms after use by guests.

▪ Wash hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).

▪ Allow guests to go to the buffet gradually rather than all at once to help prevent crowding over the food.

▪ Plate and serve food to spaciously seated guests is another safer option.

▪ Respect any health and safety accommodations requested by the host.

▪ When gathering at indoor public places, try to avoid crowded situations/spaces, wear a face mask (unless eating or drinking), wash your hands, keep physical distance, and look for increased ventilation.

▪ Be sure to pay attention to health and safety accommodations set forth by the management of public spaces.

     For those wanting more information on small gatherings and celebrating the holidays safely the Henry and Stark County Health Department, IDPH is offering additional guidance. Visit the Henry and Stark Health Departments, IDPH, and CDC websites and Facebook and Twitter social media pages.