Hosting Holiday Guests During Coronavirus Pandemic

Did you know you can sell all or a portion of a life insurance policy, even term insurance?

(3 minute read)

Spending time together outdoors has been one of the most common ways to balance the need for social distancing with our need to socialize. But during fall and winter months, the outdoor events that made it easier to gather in person with confidence may not be possible. However, these months are also the time for some of our most loved and honored traditions like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Epiphany, New Year’s, and beyond.

No matter what your culture or creed, it’s inevitable you will want to spend time with loved ones during these colder and shorter days. If you are considering hosting guests for the holidays during COVID or have been invited into someone’s home as a guest, here are the safety tips you need to know to minimize your risk.

Consider and Communicate About the Guest List

There are several factors that increase the likelihood of one or more guests at your gathering being a carrier for COVID, according to the CDC. These include:

Guests travelling from far away via plane

Guests who have not been practicing social distancing before the gathering

Gatherings in communities with higher levels of cases or rising cases

If you know certain guests will need to come from a great distance, or haven’t been following best practices like mask wearing and hand washing, it’s up to you to decide if you want to host them or not. If you choose to do so, it’s advisable to let any other guests know and allow them to make their own decision too.

Each state, county, or city may have established its own limits on the number of people permitted to gather, so be sure to check your local policies to plan the event(s) as well.

COVID Viral Testing Before Holiday Gatherings

A viral test to determine if someone is currently carrying Coronavirus can be conducted by the local Board of Health, as well as through private pharmacies like CVS or Walgreens. Testing through the Board of Health is often free, while testing at a pharmacy may not be.

It’s important to know that a negative test result only means the person was not infected with COVID at the time of testing. Since it usually takes at least two days to get test results, the CDC cautions it will still be possible that attendees have been exposed after they were tested. Or they could not be carrying a large viral load and receive a false negative. These possibilities mean social distancing and other best practices will still be needed at the holiday event regardless. However, everyone having a negative test can also give a little more confidence to each attendee.

Wear Masks Indoors

One of the best ways to offset the risk of COVID transmission during a holiday gathering is for everyone to wear a mask while indoors. There have been many real-world scenarios proving how effective masks are at preventing COVID transmission. As one example, in May, two hair stylists in Missouri reopened their salon without realizing they were infected with COVID. 139 clients passed through their chairs before the illness was discovered, but none contracted COVID due to vigilant mask wearing.

UC Davis Children’s Hospital reports that wearing a mask reduces your risk of contracting COVID by 65%, even via aerosol particles that accumulate over time during conversation, singing, or praying. With social distancing of 6 feet or more reducing risk by 90%, enforcing both at your holiday gathering means protecting yourself and guests twice over.

Improve Ventilation and Air Filtration for COVID Prevention

Some of the traditional methods to improve ventilation, like opening a door or a window, are likely to be prevented by freezing temperatures. So how can you improve ventilation in a close space when the weather is cold? There are several options to improve winter ventilation indoors.

If you have a ceiling fan, switch it to “winter” mode using a switch that can be found on the side of the fan. This causes air to be pulled up away from those in the room, not pushed down, by reversing blade direction.

Run bathroom fans or kitchen fans in your oven hood.

Install MERV or HEPA-rated air filters in your HVAC to filter out smaller particles.

Use a portable air filter in the room where the gathering will mainly take place.

If weather does permit you to crack a door or window, use a fan to direct air out the opening even better. Make sure the fan doesn’t point directly at any one person.

While these measures are not enough to prevent COVID transmission in and of themselves, they will be a great support to social distancing and mask wearing.

Holiday Dinners During COVID

Speaking of wearing masks, one of the most treasured holiday traditions also make it impossible to wear a mask—eating together. Whether it’s the Thanksgiving feast, breaking a religious fast with loved ones, or sampling a gingerbread house, almost every holiday tradition has a food element at its core.

In areas where cases of COVID and COVID transmission are high, it simply might be the best decision to avoid eating together and minimize the risk. This is especially true in families where members are high risk or immunocompromised.

In regions where transmission and infection are low, you may not have to forego these traditions. However, they do still need to be adapted to keep everyone safe.

If multiple family groups will be hosted at your event, make sure there’s room for everyone to sit and eat at least six feet apart from those they do not live with. This might mean setting up card tables or other ways to create additional space.

Avoid requiring guests to serve themselves buffet-style, and instead serve plated meals or grab-and-go meals.

Wear a mask and gloves while preparing and plating all food.

Use disposable plates, utensils, serving utensils, tablecloth, and napkins to avoid anyone coming into contact with saliva during cleanup.

You can refer to this map from the CDC to determine the current rate of infection in your state. Your state will also have a map that is more localized and may share data on a county-by-county basis.

Celebrate Holidays Safely During the Pandemic

While every family makes its own decisions on risk management, it’s important to remember that our choices affect others in our community. Factors like each person’s job, habits, and risk level also play into the decisions about holiday gatherings. Ultimately, the choice to compromise or cancel some of our holiday traditions might feel frustrating, but it also might be necessary to ensure that gatherings don’t lead to illness or worse in our loved ones.

This advice from the CDC and other experts represents the bare minimum of care that should be taken in the effort to keep ourselves and each other well and the season of giving bright.

Did you know you can sell all or a portion of a life insurance policy, even term insurance? Selling an unwanted life insurance policy is no different than selling your car, home or any other valuable asset that will create immediate cash. Contact us today to learn more.

Leo LaGrotte
Life Settlement Advisors
llagrotte@lsa-llc.com
1-888-849-0887

 

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