Be COVID-Safe This Holiday Season

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By News Team on November 16, 2020

As of midnight Nov. 15, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has limited in-person gatherings to 25 persons maximum, expanded the Commonwealth's mask mandate, established on-site alcohol curfews and increased enforcement of public health guidelines. Watch the video below or follow the link to learn more. 

And remember, the best way to prevent illness is to prevent exposure. COVID-19 spreads through person-to-person contact. Carilion Clinic’s Infectious Diseases experts strongly recommend that everyone:

Stay home whenever possible.
Avoid crowds and enclosed spaces if you must go out.
Wash your hands, keep your distance and wear a mask—every time.

This applies to individuals of every age, with or without underlying medical conditions.

Holiday seasons are important times for families to unwind, catch up and enjoy each other’s company. This year we will be celebrating the holidays with an unwelcome guest: COVID-19. And unfortunately, COVID-19 likes to party in small intimate groups or large ones, and especially indoors.

Mariana Gomez dela Espriella M.D. offers these tips from our Infectious Diseases team to keep you and your family safe:

Consider alternatives to the traditional holiday gathering.

Celebrating with people who live in your household is a low-risk activity. Higher risk activities include joining a crowded parade or participating in an indoor gathering with people from outside of your household. Instead:

  • Host a virtual Thanksgiving dinner
  • Schedule a virtual game night
  • Plan a virtual watch party for your favorite holiday movie or sporting event
Download, print and share the pdf so everyone can get in on the holiday fun!


Miminize risk if you must gather with others.

The spread of coronavirus has been identified even in small gatherings. If you must visit loved ones outside of your household, try these approaches:

  • Agree that everyone will wear masks during your visit
  • Be proactive about social distancing and regular hand washing
  • Choose lower risk activities, such as gathering outdoors
  • Bring extra supplies to help others stay healthy: masks, hand sanitizer and tissues
  • Consider isolating yourself—avoiding contact with people outside your household—for 14 days before gathering 

Keep your home and guests safe if you must host.

If you decide to host a holiday gathering, here are some helpful measures, though not risk free:

  • Opt for outdoor activities if possible; avoid crowded, poorly ventilated or fully enclosed spaces if an indoor event is the only option
  • Limit the number of guests (all events in Virginia are limited to 25 people as of midnight Nov. 15, 2020
  • Set the expectation before guests arrive about the precautions you’ll be taking
  • Ask guests to be observant of safe practices like avoiding bars and restaurants and crowded indoor settings.
  • Ask guests to be diligent about social distancing, face mask use and hand hygiene for the 14 days leading up to their visit.
  • Encourage guests to bring supplies to help others stay healthy (extra masks, hand sanitizer and tissues)

And to further prevent spread, encourage attendees to quickly share information with you if they become ill soon after any gathering.

Get your flu shots.

Lastly, remember: Get your flu vaccine and encourage your family and friends to get theirs too!

Watch Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's Nov. 13, 2020 update on coronavirus restrictions below.

gif illustration indicating flu vaccine injection with CTA to share on Instagram
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As always, and like never before, we're here to see you safely through all your health care needs. Visit to learn how. For up-to-date information about our response to COVID-19, visit