Precautions to Slow COVID-19 Spread During Halloween and Beyond

Oct 26, 2021

By Diane Lee, Public Information Officer, Garrett County Health Department

As the weather begins to cool down and holiday gatherings are taken indoors, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some important recommendations for reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Fall festivals, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas…holiday traditions are important to families and children. There are several ways to enjoy holiday traditions and protect your health. Because many generations tend to gather to celebrate holidays, the best way to minimize COVID-19 risk and keep your family and friends safer is to get vaccinated if you’re eligible.

Here are safer ways to celebrate the holidays:

Generally:

  • Protect those not yet eligible for vaccination such as young children by getting yourself and other eligible people around them vaccinated.
  • Wear well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth if you are in public indoor settings if you are not fully vaccinated.
    • Even those who are fully vaccinated should wear a mask in public indoor settings in communities with substantial to high transmission. Western Maryland and the surrounding West Virginia counties are all currently in the high transmission category.
      • Outdoors is safer than indoors.
    • Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.
    • If you are sick or have symptoms, don’t host or attend a gathering.
    • Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have a close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

Special considerations:

  • People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system may not be fully protected even if they are fully vaccinated and have received an additional dose. They should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitted mask, until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider.
  • You might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission if a member of your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated.
  • If you are gathering with a group of people from multiple households and potentially from different parts of the country, you could consider additional precautions (e.g., avoiding crowded indoor spaces before travel, taking a test) in advance of gathering to further reduce risk.
  • Do NOT put a mask on children younger than 2 years old.

If you are considering traveling for a holiday or event, visit CDC’s travel page to help you decide what is best for you and your family. CDC still recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated. Visit cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html for more information.

By working together, we can enjoy safer holidays, travel, and protect our own health as well as the health of our family and friends.

For information on local testing or vaccinations visit garretthealth.org or call the Garrett County Health Department at 301-334-7698.