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CDC urges Americans to celebrate safely as the new year arrives

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) — As folks are deciding how to celebrate New Year's Eve, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is offering guidance to help make sure Americans stay safe.

As has been the case with other recent holidays, the CDC is recommending that families curtail travel and stay home.

"If you are considering traveling for the winter holidays, here are some important questions to ask yourself and your loved ones beforehand," the agency notes. "These questions can help you decide what is best for you and your family."

  • Are you, someone in your household, or someone you will be visiting at increased risk for getting very sick from COVID-19?
  • Are cases high or increasing in your community or at your destination? The more cases in your community or at your destination, the more likely you are to get and spread COVID-19 as a result of your door-to-door travel. Check CDC’s COVID Data Tracker for the latest number of cases in each area.
  • Are hospitals in your community or at your destination overwhelmed with patients who have COVID-19? To find out, check state and local public health department websites.
  • Does your home or destination have requirements or restrictions for travelers? Check state and local requirements before you travel.
  • During the 14 days before your travel, have you or those you are visiting had close contact with people they don’t live with?
  • Do your plans include traveling by bus, train, or airplane, which might make staying 6 feet apart difficult?
  • Are you traveling with people who don’t live with you?

"If the answer to any of these questions is 'yes,' you should consider making other plans, such as hosting a virtual gathering or delaying your travel," the CDC states on its website.

Officials also encourage strict adherence to social distancing guideline, the use of masks and avoidance of crowds.

Additional guidance follows.

A family is shown talking to loved ones by using their computer and virtual meeting technology.

If you host a celebration:

  • Talk with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
  • Limit the number of guests.
  • Keep celebrations outdoors, if possible.
  • If indoors, open windows and doors. Use a window fan to blow air out, which will pull fresh air in through the open windows.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
  • Have guests bring their own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.
  • Have extra unused masks available for your guests and encourage everyone to wear them inside and outside.
  • Keep background music volume low so guests don’t need to shout.
  • It’s okay if you decide to postpone or cancel your gathering. Do what’s best for you.

If you attend a celebration:

  • It’s okay if you decide to stay home and remain apart from others. Do what’s best for you.
  • If traveling for a celebration, know what to do before, during, and after travel.
  • Bring your own food, drinks, and disposable plates, cups, and utensils.
  • Wear a mask indoors and outdoors and safely store your mask while eating and drinking.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs that can alter judgement and make it difficult to practice COVID-19 safety measures.
  • Avoid shouting and singing.
  • Avoid areas where food is prepared, such as the kitchen.
  • Use single-use options, like condiment packets.

Jonathan Shelley

Jonathan Shelley is the news director at WPTA TV, which he joined in 2016 following nine years in a similar role in New Orleans and previous news management positions in Oklahoma City and Las Vegas.

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