The holidays will look different this year as coronavirus cases surge across the country and new guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise Americans to forego caroling, loud music and even drinking alcohol.
The CDC advises to celebrate small gatherings with your own household this year to reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you must attend or host an event with people who live in different households it’s best to do so outdoors while limiting the number of attendees.
The holiday spirit may be dampened as the CDC says to ‘encourage guests to avoid singing or shouting, especially indoors,’ meaning there will be no Christmas caroling this year.
‘Keep music levels down so people don’t have to shout or speak loudly to be heard,’ the guidelines say.
Experts say coronavirus is primarily transmitted though respiratory droplets such as saliva, which can be spread when raising your voice or singings.
Officials also say ringing in the holiday spirit with champagne or other alcoholic beverages may be a danger.
The CDC labeled alcohol consumption as a high risk activity saying: ‘Using alcohol or drugs that may alter judgment and make it more difficult to practice COVID-19 safety measures.’
The CDC advises avoiding meeting with people from different households and instead delivering food to family members contact-free and host a virtual gathering to feel together during the festive season.
But those that still want to meet are encouraged to avoid direct contact – meaning no handshakes or hugs this holiday season with people outside your household – and to maintain six feet of social distance.
Guests are also advised to wear masks while not eating and drinking and are advised to quarantine for 14 days before and after the event to minimize exposure to the virus.
The agency also advises to cancel holiday shopping in crowded stores around Thanksgiving, putting an end the usual Black Friday chaos.
Across the US there are more than 11million cases of coronavirus and there have been more than 248,000 deaths.