Massachusetts officials have released the new COVID-19 guidelines for the upcoming December holidays.
After the recent spike in COVID-19 cases brought on by Thanksgiving Day celebrations, Governor Charlie Baker is urging Massachusetts residents to avoid traveling and extended-family gatherings for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Eve.
“After seeing what happened in the aftermath of that one day, Thanksgiving, I don’t think we should kid ourselves about the holidays in December,” said Baker during a press conference Tuesday afternoon, December 15, at the Massachusetts State House.
Also on Tuesday, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health issued a new set of guidelines to take into account when celebrating the holidays this year. Echoing those measures released for Halloween and Thanksgiving Day, the state’s guidelines encourage virtual visits to Santa, online shopping, Zoom holiday parties with extended members of the family and limiting in-person gatherings to include only household members, among other measures.
For those planning to carry out in-person activities, the guidelines recommended sticking to the private indoor gatherings limit of 10 people and stressed the importance of wearing a mask and social distancing during this time.
The guidelines also advised against all holiday travel. Although they also state that residents who do plan to travel should be prepared to comply with the state’s quarantine requirements for people entering and returning to Massachusetts.
“We really do need the help of everybody to make sure that we don’t have a repeat, so that our hospital system can continue to provide the critical medical care that it does so well for those who need it,” Baker continued. “And I can’t emphasize enough that this is not forever. This is once — one time, one month, one year — where Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve, really do, and should be different. Next year, we’ll probably be able to celebrate those holidays just like we used to. But not this year.”
For the full set of guidelines issued by the Department of Public Health visit mass.gov’s website here.
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