Harris County Public Health offers best practices for celebrating holidays during a pandemic

County officials recommend minimizing travel this holiday season. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
County officials recommend minimizing travel this holiday season. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

County officials recommend minimizing travel this holiday season. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Officials with Harris County Public Health reminded residents to keep COVID-19 in mind when planning for the upcoming holiday season in a Nov. 10 news release as Texas leads the nation in highest increase of cases.

Even when participants do not exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, in-person activities can still present a risk of spread, as officials said 25% of individuals with the virus are asymptomatic.


Those who have tested positive for the virus or have been in exposed to someone with it should not travel or participate in any in-person activities, officials said. Individuals have access to free COVID-19 testing—regardless of age, insurance or immigration status—at www.hcphtx.org or 832-927-7575.

County officials urge residents to continue wearing a mask in public, social distancing and washing hands frequently. During the holiday season, choosing to stay home instead of traveling and participating in outdoor events rather than indoor activities are safer alternatives to typical traditions. See more tips from the department below.

Lower-risk activities may include:

  • Sharing a virtual meal with family and friends.

  • Having a small dinner with fellow household members only.

  • Sharing holiday decorations virtually with loved ones.

  • Preparing traditional family recipes and delivering them to family members and neighbors while avoiding contact.

  • Shopping online rather than in stores during peak holiday shopping times.

  • Watching sports events, parades and movies from home.


Moderate-risk activities may include:


  • Having a small outdoor dinner with family and friends in your community.

  • Attending a small outdoor sports event with safety precautions in place.


Higher-risk activities that should be avoided may include:


  • Attending large indoor gatherings, including holiday meals, with individuals from outside your household.

  • Shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving.

  • Participating in or being a spectator at a crowded race or parade.

  • Using alcohol or drugs that cloud judgment and increase risky behaviors.

By Danica Lloyd
Danica joined Community Impact Newspaper as a Cy-Fair reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a journalism degree from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. She covers education, local government, business, demographic trends, real estate development and nonprofits.


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