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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued updated COVID-19 guidance for the upcoming holiday season, urging Americans to continue to get vaccinated and encouraging mask wearing in public spaces.
“Because many generations tend to gather to celebrate holidays, the best way to minimize COVID-19 risk and keep your family and friends safer is to get vaccinated if you’re eligible,” the agency states on its website. “Protect those not yet eligible for vaccination such as young children by getting yourself and other eligible people around them vaccinated.”
“Wear well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth if you are in public indoor settings if you are not fully vaccinated,” the CDC also encourages. “Even those who are fully vaccinated should wear a mask in public indoor settings in communities with substantial to high transmission,” it adds, noting that outdoor areas are safer than indoor spaces.
The CDC’s general advice for the holidays also includes avoiding crowded, poorly ventilated spaces; not hosting or attending a gathering if you are sick or have COVID-19 symptoms and getting tested if you have symptoms or have come in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.
As for holiday travel, the CDC continues to recommend delaying any plans until you are fully vaccinated. “People who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine or a vaccine authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization can travel safely within the United States,” the agency says. However, individuals are still required to wear a face covering on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within or out of the country and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs like airports and stations.
Unvaccinated travelers are encouraged to take a viral test one to three days before their trip and again three to five days after they return home. The CDC also advises that unvaccinated individuals quarantine for at least seven days after travel.
When it comes to international travel for the holidays, the agency states that “fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19. However, international travel poses additional risks, and even fully vaccinated travelers might be at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading some COVID-19 variants.” Regardless of vaccination status, travelers returning to the U.S. after traveling abroad will require a negative COVID-19 test result secured no more than three days before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past three months in order to board their return flight.
Click here to view the latest CDC guidance ahead of the holidays.
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