HOUSTON HEALTH DEPARTMENT ENCOURAGES LIMITING HOLIDAY GATHERINGS TO HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC
HOUSTON – The Houston Health Department encourages everyone to limit in-person holiday gatherings to household members to slow the spread of COVID-19 and prevent another surge this winter. People who attend a holiday gathering with people who don’t live in their home need to consider avoiding non-household members for 14-days before and after the event.

“We should all be thankful for our health this holiday season and remember those affected by the virus. I encourage everyone to make a few more sacrifices to keep our families and friends safe from the spread of COVID-19,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “This virus thrives on gatherings and will take advantage of holiday festivities to sicken our loved ones and further spread in our community. Although the holidays will look and feel different this year, making smart choices could save the lives of the people you love.”

Video calls family offer the opportunity to interact with friends and family during holiday events without the risk associated with in-person gatherings.

Participating in outdoor gatherings is safer than indoor events but attendees still need to practice social distancing and mask-wearing is needed for interactions with non-household members.

“While there isn’t a way to completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19, we can significantly reduce it,” said Dr. David Persse, chief medical officer for the City of Houston. “If you must gather, you and your group must plan ahead and commit to restricting contact with anyone outside your household for 14 days before and after the gathering.”

Shoppers should avoid crowded stores, including during busy Black Friday sales. Instead, consider online shopping, curbside pick-up, and home delivery. People can also plan shopping during less crowded times of day, and should wear a mask, social distance and bring hand sanitizer.

People who may have COVID-19, are experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, new loss of taste or smell and diarrhea or were exposed to someone who tested positive must not spend any time with other people or leave their homes unless they need medical care.

The health department urges Houstonians to continue to mask up, social distance, wash hands and get tested to prevent the spread of COVID-19. People can visit houstonhealth.org or call 832-393-4220 to find a nearby free testing site.

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