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Howard County advises avoiding large family gatherings this Thanksgiving

Posted at 3:30 PM, Oct 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-22 15:30:04-04

HOWARD COUNTY — Howard County Executive Calvin Ball and the Howard County Health Department released guidance for the community on staying safe during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

The guidance stems directly from recommendations made by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“As more people spend time indoors with approaching cooler weather, we must remain vigilant against the spread of the virus,” said Ball. “This year is full of firsts, and hopefully lasts, when it comes to how we celebrate holidays. Please avoid large family gatherings this Thanksgiving, and instead celebrate with those within your immediate family. Our ability to prevent large outbreaks this winter hinges on adhering to the recommendations from institutions like the CDC and public health officials. If we all work together – even when we’re apart – we can avoid COVID-19 surges in Howard County and keep one another safe.”

The Howard County Health Department Recommends:

  • Avoid large indoor gatherings, dinners and parties, especially with people outside your immediate family.
  • Avoid large crowds even when outside, wear a mask and practice physical distancing.
  • Staying home is the best way to protect yourself. Avoid travel to attend holiday gatherings.
  • Shop online and avoid crowded stores.
  • Get a flu shot and wash hands frequently.

Lower risk options for celebrating:

  • Have a small dinner with only people who live in your household.
  • Prepare traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and deliver them in a way that doesn't involve contact with others.
  • Have an outdoor bonfire in place of a holiday meal, with physical distancing and mask-wearing.
  • Enjoy apple-picking or pumpkin picking outdoors.

"We continue to encourage cautious celebration of the fall holidays this year in order to keep our families safe and control the spread of COVID-19 in our communities," said Dr. Maura Rossman, Howard County Health Officer. "Considering creative ways to celebrate virtually while avoiding large indoor gatherings with friends and family will help keep us healthy and safe."