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Austin Public Health shares COVID-19 safety guidelines for holiday season

APH recommends people avoid all high-risk activities and to be cautious with all medium-risk activities listed in this article.

AUSTIN, Texas — With Thanksgiving just around the corner and Christmas not too far in the future, Austin Public Health officials issued some safety guidelines for the community to follow regarding holiday celebrations. 

The recommendations follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, according to APH. 

APH said the holiday safety guidelines were not additional rules, but rather a collection of strong recommendations for behaviors intended to keep the entire community safe. 

APH recommends people avoid all high-risk activities and to be cautious with all medium-risk activities listed below. 

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Low-risk activities 

  • Celebrating with members of your household 
  • Decorating your living space 
  • Hosting a virtual gathering with friends and family 
  • Preparing traditional recipes and delivering them in a no-contact manner 
  • Watching holiday-themed movies or shows

Medium-risk activities 

  • Hosting a small dinner with local family and friends outdoors 
  • Attending an outdoor gathering 
  • Visiting orchards and tree farms where hand sanitizer is used before touching objects 
  • Having an outdoor parade or movie night

High-risk activities

  • Participating in traditional caroling or other door-to-door activities 
  • Attending crowded, indoor gatherings 
  • Going on hayrides with non-household members 
  • Traveling outside your community for gatherings and events 

RELATED: List: Austin restaurants serving Thanksgiving takeout meals, turkey dinner

In the Nov. 17 Travis County Commissioners Court meeting, APH Authority Dr. Mark Escott said college students returning home for the holidays and high school students traveling to visit family should wear masks during their visit to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

"Remember that young people – college age, high school and younger – are more likely to have subtle or no symptoms, which means that they can spread disease even though they don't appear sick," Escott said.

APH officials said people should not attend in-person celebrations if: 

  • You have been recently diagnosed with COVID-19 
  • You have symptoms of COVID-19 
  • You are waiting for test results 
  • You may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days 
  • You or a household member are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 

The Texas Medical Association also released a risk assessment graph for a number of activities.

The APH recommendations, and all graphics and content, can be found here.

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