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Social Gathering During COVID-19

Risks of Travel and Social Gatherings

Social gatherings among family and friends are a significant contributor to the spread of COVID-19. Anyone that does not live in your household can potentially expose you to COVID-19. The holidays are a time for gathering, but with COVID-19 transmission increasing across the United States, the risk of being exposed to infection during a gathering is greater. Everyone should carefully consider the risks of traveling and gathering with family and friends and determine whether plans should be adjusted during this pandemic. Information about how to assess risk and safely plan for social gatherings is included below:

Risk Factors to Consider Before Attending a Social Gathering


House Online with two windows open An indoor location, a small space, a crowded or poorly ventilated space all increase risk for exposure to COVID-19


Clock outline with minute and hour hands The longer the time spent in a space or around people, the higher the risk of exposure to COVID-19


Outlines of Three People with a Plus Sign The larger the number of people attending an event, the higher the risk of exposure to COVID-19; the greater the number of people attending from areas with higher COVID-19 transmission, the higher the risk


Outline of Turkey on a Plate

Events that include eating, drinking, dancing, close interaction, singing or shouting increase risk of exposure to COVID-19

Tips for Social Gathering

Lowercase "I", in a circle outline to indicate "information"

  • Families with elderly members or persons with chronic medical conditions should avoid gathering with persons outside their household; consider virtual gatherings with extended family
  • If inviting friends or family that are not part of your household, have everyone wear a face mask while together; have extra face masks should someone forget to bring a face mask
  • Plan to spend part of the gathering outdoors to decrease the time indoors
  • Invite some of your friends or family to gather at different times of the same day or on different days to reduce the total number of people who will be together at one time
  • Avoid inviting so many people that the space will be crowded—allow for more room to physically distance
  • Greet each other verbally rather than with handshakes and hugs
  • Keep face masks on unless eating or drinking
  • Dine outdoors if possible
  • Plan to seat persons from the same household together and physically distanced from others when dining
  • Have persons attending the gathering bring prepared food items to decrease the amount of time people will be cooking together
  • All persons cooking or preparing food should wear face masks and wash hands often
  • Assign a group of people to serve the food to others
  • Use disposable plates, glasses and utensils
  • Serve snacks that are pre-packaged rather than self-serve

Tips for Traveling Safely

Outline of a commercial jet airplane flying

  • Avoid traveling by plane, bus or train because of potential for exposure to COVID-19
  • If traveling by plane, bus or train, wear a face mask throughout travel; physically distance as much as possible; use hand sanitizer often; avoid eating or drinking while traveling because it requires removing your face mask
  • If traveling by personal vehicle, take food or drinks to eat during the trip; use drive-throughs to pick up food to eat in your vehicle; avoid dining in restaurants; wear a face mask when inside stores or gas stations; use hand sanitizer when back in your vehicle
  • If riding in a car or taxi with persons who are not part of your household, everyone should wear a face mask


Outline of a commercial jet airplane flying

  • Wear masks when not in your room
  • Avoid dining in the restaurant
  • Consider outdoor dining, room service or pick up food to eat in your hotel room 
  • Avoid the bar and any other areas of the hotel if crowded
  • Wait for an empty elevator or use the stairs
  • Wipe down high-touch devices or surfaces with a disinfectant wipe

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