The Center for Disease Control has already recommended that Americans avoid traveling for Thanksgiving, and any in-person celebrating should only be done "at home with the people you live with."

With additional Health Officer Order restrictions for Yellowstone County going into effect today, RiverStone Health also announced several precautions residents should take when making plans for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve.

According to the press release from Yellowstone County's public health agency, here are some of the safer ways to celebrate the holidays during a pandemic:

  • Celebrate at home with members of your household.
  • Participate in online church or religious gatherings.
  • Use video chats to visit with family and friends or host an online party.
  • Have a virtual dinner and share recipes.
  • Order takeout from local restaurants for special meals. Use drive-through and food delivery services.

RiverStone Health also suggests that holiday shopping is done online, and through phone orders. Most businesses in Yellowstone County offer curbside pickup, and many have delivery services available.

Some of the riskier ways to celebrate, according to RiverStone Health include:

  • Traveling to visit relatives or friends, which increases your chances of getting and spreading the virus.
  • Attending or hosting large indoor gatherings or crowded parties.
  • Attending events that bring people close together or involve singing or loud talking.
  • Parties with alcohol or drugs that may cloud judgment and increase risky behaviors.

The current Health Officer Order for Yellowstone County limits indoor and outdoor gatherings to 25 people, and that continues through December 31, 2020.

Protection against COVID-19 depends on each of us: Keep your distance; wash your hands; wear a mask in public indoor, school and workplace spaces; avoid large gatherings; and stay home if you are ill. Get your flu vaccine. Holiday gatherings can contribute to the spread of many infectious diseases. -RiverStone Health

For those who plan to travel during the holidays, RiverStone Health says "short trips by car, with no stops along the way" is safest.

Making stops can put you in close contact with others and with frequently touched surfaces.  Traveling long distances with people who are not members of your household also poses additional risks.

For more COVID-19 information and resources from RiverStone Health, CLICK HERE.

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