Reduce your risk this holiday season, and help stop the spread of COVID-19. Follow guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and celebrate safely.

On this page:

Having “The COVID chat” for the holidays


  • Be clear: Say “no” to anything that could increase risk for you or the people you care about
  • Offer alternatives: Ask if there’s another way to connect with family. Acknowledge you want to see them and find a different way to share the experience.
  • Drop off holiday meals for older loved ones and those with medical conditions, so they can stay home
  • Plan safe celebrations well in advance, then stick to the plan
  • Be honest: Remind people that you care about them and need to take precautions this year for everyone’s health


  • Plan celebrations with multiple households
  • Make someone feel guilty for not wanting to gather in person
  • Ridicule someone for wanting to take precautions
  • Feel pressured to take risks you’re not comfortable with
  • Forget to be compassionate, even when turning down an invitation
  • Miss connecting by phone or virtually with isolated or quarantined loved ones

Check restrictions in your area

Learn if your county is under a Regional Stay Home Order, which doesn’t allow social gatherings of any size, indoors or outdoors.

Find out what businesses or activities are open in your county.

Travel advisory

Traveling to see friends and family during the holiday could increase your risk of infection and spread COVID-19 in your community.  And there are further travel restrictions under the Regional Stay Home Order.

In regions under a Regional Stay Home Order, hotels and lodgings:

  • Cannot accept reservations from within California for non-essential travel. Hotels and lodgings can only offer accommodation for COVID-19 mitigation and containment measures, treatment measures, accommodation for essential workers, or providing housing solutions, including measures to protect homeless populations.

While the Regional Stay Home Order is in place anywhere in the State, hotels and lodgings in California:

  • Cannot accept out-of-state reservations for non-essential travel, unless the reservation is for at least the minimum time period required for quarantine.

In all regions, CDPH still strongly recommends:

  • Californians stay home or in their region and avoid non-essential travel.
  • Anyone arriving into California should voluntarily self-quarantine for 10 days.

For complete details and requirements, read the Regional Stay Home Order Q&As and CDPH’s COVID-19 Quarantine Guidance.

Tips for a healthier holiday season

The spread of COVID-19 is increasing across the country and in California as colder weather drives more people indoors. To keep yourself and your loved ones safe, follow the guidelines applicable in your county. Here are some extra tips on how to celebrate the holidays more safely.

  • Do not gather with other households if your county is under a Regional Stay Home Order.
  • If your county is not under a Regional Stay Home Order, check your county’s tier status to find out what types of activities and gatherings are permitted in your county based on the current spread of the virus.
  • Wear a mask when you leave home, including on public and mass transportation, at events and gatherings, shopping and in stores, and anywhere you will be around people who do not live with you.
  • Wear a mask around anyone you don’t live with.
  • Keep your distance – especially from older family members and those with chronic health conditions.
  • If you are in a county where gathering is permitted, stay outdoors, keep it short, wear a mask, and maintain physical distancing.
  • If you are in a county where gathering is permitted, use all the space you can; spread things out.
  • Don’t share utensils or drinks with anyone. 
  • Commit to keeping gatherings short, whether inside or outside. Shorter (two hours or less) is safer.
  • People at higher risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 (such as older adults and people with chronic medical conditions) are strongly urged not to attend any gatherings, especially indoor gatherings. If you gather with older people or those with chronic conditions, make sure they wear a surgical or N95 mask.
  • It is safest to celebrate the holidays with the people who already live with you, but if you live in a county that is not subject to the Regional Stay at Home Order and you invite others, only invite a maximum of two other households to your gathering. 
  • Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading the virus. Persons arriving in California from other states or countries, including returning California residents, should practice self-quarantine for 10 days after arrival. These persons should limit their interactions to their immediate household.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. 
  • Stay home if you are sick.

These holiday tips are derived from CDPH’s Small Gathering Guidance.