Celebrating Holidays Safely

Holiday Gathering Safety Tips

Get your COVID-19 and flu shots. You can get both vaccines at the same time. 

  • Encourage family and friends to get their shots too. Listen to and respect their concerns.
  • Ask if you can share your own experience getting vaccinated.

Talk before you gather.

Talk to family and friends about safety expectations. Use “I” statements such as, “I don’t feel comfortable being around that many people yet,” to set boundaries without judging others.

Smaller is safer.

  • Keep indoor gatherings small, especially if not all participants are vaccinated. 
  • Avoid crowded indoor events and remember to wear a mask in indoor public spaces.

Outside is safest.

If you can, bundle up and take your celebration outdoors. Fresh air and extra space help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses.

Stay home if you are sick.

Keep your loved ones healthy by not hosting or attending gatherings if you are feeling sick. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms after a gathering, get tested right away and notify the people you were with.

Fully vaccinated people are well protected against COVID-19. Gatherings are likely safe between fully vaccinated people. However, everyone over age 2 must wear a mask in public indoor settings regardless of vaccination status. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people should also keep following public health measures like staying 6 feet (2 meters) apart and avoiding crowds.

Please keep in mind that some people may not feel comfortable gathering – even in low-risk settings. Others may not want hugs and handshakes yet. And that’s ok. Everyone is adjusting to the new normal and we all just want to stay safe and protect our loved ones.

Visits between people who are all fully vaccinated

Fully vaccinated people can visit with each other with reduced risk without wearing masks or physical distancing. This means it is low risk to dine at a restaurant or to have your fully vaccinated friends over to dinner – and low risk to shake hands or give hugs! To reduce the spread of the delta variant, everyone over age 2 must wear a mask in public indoor settings regardless of vaccination status.

Visits between fully vaccinated people and unvaccinated people

Visits between fully vaccinated people and unvaccinated people from one other household without masks or physical distancing are likely a low risk to those who are vaccinated.

If you are gathering with unvaccinated people from multiple households, or if any unvaccinated people are at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness, then the visit should take place outdoors or indoors with the windows open, and all unvaccinated people over age 2 should wear masks and stay 6 feet (2 meters) apart. This includes gatherings with children under age 12, who hare not yet able to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Visits between unvaccinated people

Unvaccinated people should keep gatherings small, meet outdoors, wear well-fitted masks, and maintain physical distance (6 feet / 2 meters).

Attending medium- or large-sized gatherings

Gatherings between fully vaccinated people are likely safe. While not required, it's strongly recommended to also wear masks in crowded outdoor settings, like a live performance or sporting event. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people should wear masks at medium or large in-person gatherings. If the gathering is in a public indoor space, then everyone over age 2 must wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.

Attending other gatherings and social activities away from home

The risk of COVID-19 infection during public social activities – like dining indoors at a restaurant or going to the gym – is lower for fully vaccinated people. Fully vaccinated people can gather with each other without masks or physical distancing in private settings or outdoors. Everyone over age 2 must wear a mask in public indoor settings regardless of vaccination status. It is possible that fully vaccinated people may transmit COVID-19 to unvaccinated people (like children under age 12), and wearing masks is an effective way to reduce this spread.

Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people should continue to wear a mask and stay 6 feet (2 meters) apart in all public settings or when visiting with each other.


The CDC recommends delaying domestic and international travel until you are fully vaccinated. Traveling increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.

Fully vaccinated people can:

  • Travel within the U.S. without getting tested for COVID-19 before or after traveling
  • Travel within the U.S. and internationally without quarantining after travel
  • It is federally required to continue wearing a mask when traveling, including on planes, trains, buses, and taxis and ride-shares. You should also stay 6 feet (2 meters) from others, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer while traveling to protect those around you. Please follow the rules of the specific airline, bus, train, or other travel company you’re using.
    If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, continue to follow the CDC’s guidelines for unvaccinated people.

After the Celebration

If you participated in higher risk activities or think that you may have been exposed during your celebration, take extra precautions (in addition the ones listed above) for 14 days after the event to protect others:

If you develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, or if you test positive for COVID-19, immediately contact the host and others that attended the event or celebration that you attended. They may need to inform other attendees about their possible exposure to the virus. Contact your health care provider and follow the CDC-recommended steps for what to do if you become sick, and follow the public health recommendations for community-related exposure.
If you are waiting for your COVID-19 test results, stay home until you have a result, and follow CDC’s guidance to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, a public health worker may contact you to check on your health and ask you who you have been in contact with and where you’ve spent time in order to identify and provide support to people (contacts) who may have been infected. Your information will be confidential. Learn more about what to expect with contact tracing

Coloring Sheets (printable PDFs)



Jelly Not Germs