Utah (ABC4 News) — Christmas and New Year’s are right around the corner and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC, is advising people to create a plan on how they are going to safely celebrate the holiday during a global pandemic.

COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to rise across the United States. In years past, holiday celebrations include gatherings with loved ones. This year, the CDC says the safest way to celebrate the winter holidays is at home with the people you live with.

Yes, 2020 has been stressful. For many, the social gatherings during the upcoming holidays might be the perfect opportunity to reconnect with those you love.

“This holiday season, consider how your holiday plans can be modified to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to keep your friends, families, and communities healthy and safe,” the CDC says.

The CDC advises you to make plans ahead of time on how you are going to help slow the spread of COVID-19 during gatherings this season.

The following are recommends tips from the CDC:

Celebrate Virtually

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we can stay connected through technology. Consider hosting a virtual gathering this year instead of gathering in person. Traditions can be made and kept all through the safety of a screen.

According to the CDC, “The safest way to celebrate winter holidays is to celebrate at home with the people who live with you. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.”

Consider your community levels of COVID-19

COVID-19 numbers can increase with large gatherings. Family and friends should consider the number of COVID-19 cases in their area when deciding whether to host or attend a gathering.

Exposure during travel

It might feel strange being home for the holidays this year, but airports, public transport, gas stations, and train stations can all expose travelers to the virus. “Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year,” as stated by the CDC.

Be cautious of where, how long, and who you gather with

Indoor gatherings, in small enclosed spaces with no outside air, can pose more risk than outdoor gatherings. The duration of a gathering can also pose more risk of contracting CVOID-19. If you are gathering this year, the CDC recommends you maintain social distancing, practice good hygiene, and wear a mask. More people, more risk. The size of a holiday gathering should be determined based on the ability of attendees from different households to stay 6 feet apart from one another.

How gathering attendees act before the gathering

If you are considering going to a gathering this season, now is a good time to start considering your COVID-19 safety protocols. Are you wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing your hands? Those who don’t adhere to these recommendations have a greater likelihood of coming in contact with COVID-19 and spreading it.

Holiday celebrations will likely need to be different this year in efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The CDC recommends avoiding activities that might expose you to COVID-19. “Consider fun alternatives that pose a lower risk of spreading COVID-19,” as stated by the CDC.

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