How To Have A Very Merry Safe Christmas In Arlington Heights

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL — The Christmas holiday is almost here in Arlington Heights. While a favorite time of year for many, Christmas celebrations will likely look different this year amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released specific guidance on what and what not to do when celebrating the holidays this year.

While it may be tempting to enjoy traditions as usual, here’s the bottom line: Staying home is the safest thing you can do, the CDC says. Take a year off from hectic holiday travel and stick to celebrating with people who are part of your immediate household.

But if you can’t, or if you decide you must travel, the CDC urges you to get tested for coronavirus first. While getting tested does not eliminate all risk, it can help make travel safer.

Local resources in Arlington Heights include:

  • For the Arlington Heights Health and Human Services Department, visit here.

  • For more information on the Arlington Heights Health Center (through Cook County), visit here.

Here are a few other things you can do to reduce your risk of contracting the coronavirus this Christmas:

Hosting A Gathering

  • Check the COVID-19 infection rates in areas where your guests live. Use state, local, territorial or tribal health department websites.

  • Limit the number of guests you invite.

  • If weather permits, plan a small outdoor meal with family and friends who live nearby.

  • Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between uses.

  • If celebrating indoors, make sure to open windows.

  • Limit the number of people in food preparation areas.

  • Have guests bring their own food and drink.

  • If sharing food, have one person serve food while wearing a mask. Use single-use dinnerware, such as plastic utensils.

  • Use touchless garbage cans if available.

  • Treat pets as you would other human family members. Do not let pets interact with people outside your household.

Attending A Celebration

  • Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups and utensils.

  • Wear a mask, and safely store your mask while eating and drinking.

  • Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as the kitchen.

  • Use single-use dinnerware and other items, such as salad dressing and condiment packets.

If You’re Traveling

  • Check travel restrictions before you go.

  • Get your flu shot before you travel.

  • Always wear a mask in public settings and on public transportation.

  • Stay at least 6 feet apart from anyone who is not in your household.

  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.

  • Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Bring extra supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer.

Other Safety Precautions

  • Get your flu shot.

  • Wear a mask, making sure it’s over the nose and under the chin.

  • Stay at least 6 feet away from people who do not live with you.

See the CDC’s full guidance online. Other holiday guidance is available on the Illinois public health website

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This article originally appeared on the Arlington Heights Patch

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