How to be social this Christmas while staying safe
Christmas is a time for being together with family and friends. While this year’s celebrations might look a little different, there are ways to enjoy the festive season safely. We asked some experts, including Dr Kirsty Short, a specialist in infectious diseases at the University of Queensland and occupational health practitioner Anita Patturajan, for their tips on staying safe this Christmas.
- It’s very important to stay informed about what’s going on in your area. If there are reports of community transmission in the area you live – or the area you plan to visit for Christmas – consider being more cautious. Older people are at greater risk so be flexible with your plans.
- If possible, meet people outdoors and keep the suggested 1.5 metres apart. If you have to gather indoors, make sure the chairs are spaced 1.5 metres away from each other.
- Abide by the rules in your state and keep your guest list down. The fewer people you are in contact with the lower the risk. Consider only seeing people who really matter to you.
- Monitor and self-assess your health. Anyone with even the mildest symptoms of COVID-19 should stay at home and not socialise with others. Symptoms include sore throat, cough, fever, runny nose. Encourage your host to be flexible and allow guests to cancel if they show any symptoms.
- If you’re particularly concerned about meeting other people, consider asking family members and friends you plan to see to get testing prior to the event (if asymptomatic testing is available where you live). Another option could be for friends and family to isolate for two weeks prior to seeing you – however this may not be possible for many people.
- Ask everyone you’ll be meeting to wear a mask to help prevent the spread of the virus. If you’re outside, wearing sunglasses is also recommended – there’s some belief sunglasses help reduce infection risk.
- Try to limit hugs, kissing and touching. This can be particularly difficult with young children, but kids are thought to carry the virus without showing symptoms so it’s best to be cautious.
- Wash your hands when you arrive at a new house and before preparing and eating food. If you’re outside and there’s no soap and water, use hand sanitiser.
- If you’re at a sit-down meal, make sure everyone has their own serving cutlery and try to avoid people using their fingers to take food from a shared serving plate.
With these little tips, Christmas can be a safe and social event for all ages. You may also wish to think about sharing some of the suggestions above with your family members or friends to make sure everyone is comfortable.