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 plan safer celebrations.

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Having “the COVID chat” this Thanksgiving


  • 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

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 for small gatherings. Here are some extra tips on how to celebrate the holidays more safely.

  • 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.
  • Do not gather indoors with other households if your county prohibits it.
  • If you are in a county where indoor gathering is permitted, when indoors, keep windows and doors open so fresh air circulates and wear a mask.
  • If you are in a county where indoor 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 invite others, only invite a maximum of two other households to your gathering. 
  • Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading the virus. Incoming travelers from out of state should self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival before mixing indoors with others. 
  • 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.

Travel advisory

Traveling to see friends and family during the holiday could increase your risk of infection and spread COVID-19 in your community.

CDPH strongly recommends:

  • Californians stay home or in their region and avoid non-essential travel.
  • Anyone arriving into California should voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days.

For complete details and requirements, read CDPH’s Travel Advisory.

Limited stay at home order

CDPH has instituted a Limited Stay At Home Order to reduce opportunities for disease transmission with the goal of decreasing the number of hours individuals are in the community and mixing with individuals outside of their household. Every intervention to decrease mixing of households is critical during this unparalleled increase in case rate rise. 

The limited order applies to the following:

  • Any county that is in the Widespread (purple) tier of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy 
  • Individuals, unless they are exempt pursuant to the limited order, must be home by 10pm and stay home until 5am
  • The limited order is effective November 21 until December 21

For additional details and requirements, read CDPH’s Limited Stay At Home Order Questions & Answers.