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Be thankful for keeping your family safe this holiday season.

Thanksgiving will be like no other for many people this year.

COVID-19 changed many aspects of life. Case counts are rising quickly as we move into the holidays. Large gatherings with family and friends threaten to send our counts even higher.

The safest option is to stay home and celebrate with people who live with you.  Each trip outside risks spreading COVID-19. The more trips you make to the grocery store, gas station, or your favorite restaurant, the higher your risk of contracting COVID-19.

Then, you could be sick for days before you show symptoms. During that time, you could unintentionally spread it through your interactions with friends, family, or other community members.

Next, you may end up hearing from one of our contact tracers that you’ve been exposed to COVID and may need to get tested and isolate. They’re nice people, but we hope they won’t need to talk with you.

If you do choose to get together with loved ones, follow these tips to do it more safely. Check out our Safe Gatherings webpage to learn how. 

Healthy Holidays.

We want you and your family to have happy and safe holidays. The best way to be safe is to keep the following in mind: 

  • Clean: Prepare your home in advance of guests. Disinfect surfaces guests are likely to touch.  Clean your hands frequently. 
  • Be small: Limit the number of guests to 5 or fewer people. 
  • Stay local: Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.
  • Wear a mask: Anybody can spread the virus that causes COVID-19 before they know they’re sick.
  • Stay separated: Maintain a safe distance of 6 feet between guests.   
  • Be sure your guests know the rules. If they are sick, ask them to stay home.

Family portrait with children, parents and grandparents

Serving up safe food tips.

COVID-19 isn’t the only concern when hosting. We want to make sure everyone can enjoy the holidays and avoid foodborne illness. Follow these steps to protect you, your family and your guests:

  • Don’t make food when you are sick. Stay home and don’t prepare food yourself. Have someone else do it for you or send someone to buy something already made.
  • Wash your hands often. Especially after using the bathroom. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds. Remind your kitchen helpers to wash their hands often, too.
  • Keep small children out of the kitchen. Kitchens can be a dangerous place for little ones. It’s also a dangerous place for cross-contamination. Remind everyone to care for children—including diaper changing—outside of the kitchen.
  • If hiring a caterer, ask them for their catering permit. Splurging for a caterer can be exciting, but be sure you are making a wise investment. Only hire caterers that can show you their health department catering permit. They have the right equipment to make your food safely in commercial kitchens that we inspect.

You can find more tips on our food safety website

Are you hosting? We recommend you have plenty of fresh air flowing where you gather.

Are you traveling? Make sure you have a plan in case you or somebody with you gets sick. 

When you gather, try to have touchless access to trash cans. 

After you gather, watch for symptoms.

Taking these steps will protect us against COVID-19 and fight the flu, too. Getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever this year. Find free flu vaccination events on our website. 

For more on COVID-19, go to

You can find these tips and many more on our Safe Gatherings webpage