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wear a mask. protect others.

Giving Thanks

Hands holding a leaf with Thanksgiving written across it.

This year, we give thanks to our partners, subscribers, and outspoken community members for their continued efforts to motivate the public to make choices that can reduce the risk and spread of COVID-19. The EPIC partners have shared with us some of their impressive acts of service in the face of the pandemic, including

  • Making information for the public available in different languages, including in languages less commonly spoken in the United States, as well as in American Sign Language
  • Helping children and parents maintain their mental health
  • Keeping older adults and their caregivers informed
  • Providing shelter after natural disasters while striving to reduce the spread of the virus
  • Serving the needs of people experiencing homelessness, who might have reduced access to health care
  • Helping families maintain financial health in the face of the economic impact of the pandemic 

Many subscribers to this newsletter have helped with similar activities. Whether you work to make sure children wear masks at school, provide comfort to people experiencing isolation because of the pandemic, or lead by demonstratively following CDC recommendations, please know that your actions help save lives. We appreciate your commitment to public health and safety, and we wish you and your loved ones health and happiness.

Please take the time to visit I Wear a Mask because to hear why CDC employees wear masks and how they hope to inspire others to do the same.

Holiday Season Travel

The winter holiday season is a time when many families travel long distances to celebrate together. Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. If you must travel, be informed of the risks involved.

If you decide to travel, follow these safety measures during your trip to protect yourself and others from COVID-19:

  • Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when in public places.
  • Avoid close contact by staying at least 6 feet apart (about 2 armsí length) from anyone who is not from your household.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Celebration Tips

A family celebrates the holidays while practicing mask wearing, social distancing, and ventilation recommendations.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful and isolating for many people. Gatherings during the upcoming holidays can be an opportunity to reconnect with family and friends. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 epidemic is worsening, and small household gatherings are an important contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases. Holiday celebrations will likely need to be different this year to prevent the spread of COVID-19. When you talk with your friends and family about plans, itís okay if you decide to stay home and remain apart from others. Hard choices to be apart this year may mean that you can spend many more years with your loved ones. 

Consider activities that pose lower risk of spreading COVID-19. Additionally, CDC offers these considerations to slow the spread of COVID-19 during small gatherings. Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household (who are consistently taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19) poses the lowest risk for spread. Your household is anyone who currently lives with you and shares common spaces in your housing unit (such as your house or apartment). This can include family members, roommates, or people who are unrelated to you. People who do not currently live in your housing unit, such as college students who are returning home from school for the holidays, should be considered part of different households. In-person gatherings that bring together family members or friends from different households, including college students returning home, pose varying levels of risk. 

Traditional Thanksgiving gatherings with family and friends are fun but can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu. Follow these tips to make your Thanksgiving holiday safer

These considerations are meant to supplementónot replaceóany state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which all gatherings must comply. 

Holiday Season Shopping

In-person shopping at crowded stores is a high-risk activity that may lead to the spread of COVID-19. Consider virtual shopping or curbside pickup instead. If you decide to go shopping in person, take steps to protect yourself:

  • Wear a mask in public settings and when around people who donít live in your household, especially when social is distancing is difficult.
  • When you do have to visit in person, go during hours when fewer people will be there (for example, early morning). 
  • If you are at higher risk for severe illness, find out if the store has special hours for people at higher risk. If they do, try to shop during those hours.
  • If you normally bring your own reusable shopping bags, ensure they are cleaned before each use. Some locations have temporarily banned the use of reusable shopping bags during the COVID-19 pandemic, so check your state, local, store, or market policies before bringing reusable bags.
  • Disinfect the shopping cart; use disinfecting wipes if available.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others while shopping and in lines.
  • Use marked entry or exit points and follow any directional signs or floor markings designed to keep people at least 6 feet apart.
  • Touch only products that you plan to purchase, if possible.
  • Consider not consuming any sample or purchase food or drink items from self-service stations.
  • If possible, use touchless payment options (pay without touching money, a card, or a keypad). If you must handle money, a card, or use a keypad, use hand sanitizer right after paying.
  • Before entering and after exiting the grocery store or market, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • When you get home, and before preparing or eating food, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 

Contact Us

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Email: EPIC@cdc.gov

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd
Atlanta, GA 30329 

Contact CDC-INFO
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: 888-232-6348