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CDC guidelines for safe holidays

The Christmas season will be different this year because of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, but it doesn’t have to be without good cheer or bright lights!

By wearing face coverings and social distancing, holiday lights displays can be a great place to meet family and friends, make memories, and take photos.

Whether you get out of the car for a walk through the lights or just drive past, be sure to slow down, smell the apple cider, wear a mask, and keep your distance while enjoying the spirit of the season.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have sorted traditional holiday happenings by risk factors when it comes to potentially contracting the virus that causes COVID-19.

Activities in the highest-risk category include shopping in crowded stores, attending events without face coverings or social distancing, and going to indoor parties with people from outside of your household. Even masks and distance will not be enough to keep everyone safe in close quarters.

Weather in the Highland Lakes can often be perfect for outdoor gatherings. Hang lights on your trees, decorate your patio, light a fire in the backyard pit for a fun holiday party. Shop with local retailers that offer unique gift options and uncrowded browsing and buying opportunities.

When planning a gathering or shopping excursion, remember that the most common mode of infection for COVID-19 is through exposure to respiratory droplets carrying the virus. Droplets are released into the air through coughing, sneezing, singing, talking, and laughing. Droplets can remain suspended in the air for up to 6 feet or more before falling, which is why masks are as important as distancing.

Moderate-risk activities include outdoor gatherings such as patio dinners and Christmas lights displays.

Low-risk activities include virtual dinners with friends, shopping online, and watching sports, parades, and movies from home.

The holidays can still be full of love, friends, and family if you take care and follow guidelines.

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