Over the past six months, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost every aspect of people’s lives, and unfortunately, the same will be true for many this holiday season.

People thrive on connections with one another, and COVID-19 has required physically distancing in ways that make it hard to connect socially. The holiday season makes this reality especially difficult.

“We completely understand why people want to gather together during the holidays, especially after the year we’ve had being apart from so many of our loved ones,” says Martin Herrmann, medical director, Mayo Clinic Health System in New Prague. “But it’s really so hard to stay socially distanced at holiday gatherings, and unfortunately, it’s not safe right now to be gathering with individuals who don’t currently live with you.”

For your safety and that of others, consider the following when making decisions about how to connect with others and help one another find ways to foster those connections safely:

1. People are most contagious for COVID-19 just prior to symptom onset. So people who look and act completely healthy could actually be contagious for COVID-19.

2. Whenever food and drink are served, people cannot be masked, and this increases the risk of transmission.

3. When people need to speak loudly, because of physical distance or background noise, droplets travel farther than usual.

4. Alcohol relaxes inhibitions and contributes to louder talking and lapses in distancing.

5. Transmission occurs outdoors as well as indoors.

Dr. Martin Herrmann, MD is a Family Medicine Specialist in Montgomery and has over 30 years of experience in the medical field.

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