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It’s almost Thanksgiving — Should you stay or should you go?

Are you trying to decide whether you should travel to see family for Thanksgiving? Many people will be celebrating like we’re in normal times. We’re not.

“While we may be over the pandemic, the pandemic is not over with us,” said Kelly Jolliff, director of Infection Prevention & Emergency Preparedness at Beacon Health System. “Many areas of the country — including our region — are still experiencing high community transmission rates. People are still dying. Vaccination is a great tool to lower risks, but we must remain vigilant to protect those who are most vulnerable.”

When it comes to advising her own friends and family about traveling to gather with others, Jolliff offers this advice to be safe:

  • Wear your mask indoors. Do NOT put a mask on children younger than 2 years old.
  • If you’re flying be sure to have your mask on tight.
  • Avoid crowded and poorly ventilated spaces.
  • Take your hand sanitizer — and use it.
  • Be sure you are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and flu before you travel.
  • Be mindful to stay home if you are sick or recently exposed, and feel free to request that others do the same.

“And, if there are some individuals who are considered to be at high risk — those with weakened immune systems, at risk for severe disease, or unvaccinated — consider having those attending the gathering to take a COVID-19 test beforehand and to wear masks when in close contact of each other, or within 6 feet,” she added.

For more helpful tips, check out the CDC’s guidance about holiday celebrations here.

“Life is short and so precious, and spending time together is important,” Jolliff said. “Let’s make sure we gather safely so we can have even more time together.”

Travel safety checklist
Keep these things in mind if you are traveling to see family at Thanksgiving:

    • Know the positivity rate of your destination. What can you expect?
    • How many people will be at the gathering?
    • Find out if everyone will be vaccinated.
    • Where will you be — in someone’s home, a restaurant or other venue? How long will you be there?
    • Will you social distance or mask even if no one else does?
    • If you get sick, where can you stay? Are you prepared to stay in a hotel if you have to?
    • What precautions will you take as you’re traveling?
    • If you’re not feeling well, don’t go. Or at the very least, if you’re heading on the road and feel sick, grab a rapid test at the drugstore.
About Laura Bailey