Nov 12, 2020 2:00 PM

Author: Chris Nelson


The bad news: For those who love big holiday parties and spending time with friends and extended family members, this winter holiday season is going to be different. There’s no way around it. Despite our collective desire to return to pre-pandemic normalcy, coronavirus doesn’t appear to be going away for now.

The good news: With some simple planning and modifications to past traditions, you can have a safe holiday season and help slow the spread of coronavirus. And, if you’ve never been a fan of holiday parties and hanging out with distant relatives, the virus is the perfect excuse for staying home by the fire this season.

Start with a bubble

A social bubble is a small group of people who socialize only with each other and gather only when following the same prevention measures. The benefit of a bubble is that it gives you the opportunity for in-person interactions, but it doesn’t mean socializing with everyone you know.

Every person you add to your bubble increases the possible spread of the virus because you are exposing yourself to every person they have interacted with. Because of this it is important to use common sense. Know when to do simple things like wearing a face covering, staying at least six feet apart and practicing good hand hygiene with members of your bubble who are not closest to you.

Guide for creating your bubble:

  • Keep your bubble small. Right now gatherings are not supposed to be over 10 people, so that’s a good number to aim for in your bubble. Start with members of your immediate household and add sparingly from there. Everyone in your bubble should hold each other accountable for keeping it safe. It’s important that you commit to limiting outside interactions.
  • Members of the bubble should avoid crowds, even if masked, and keep a distance of 6-feet.
  • Everyone in the bubble should get a flu shot.
  • Everyone must be willing to quarantine or isolate if a member of the bubble is exposed to someone with COVID-19 or develops symptoms themselves.
  • Take quarantine or isolation requirements seriously. If you are required to quarantine or isolate it is imperative that you remain in your personal space and not interact with others to limit the spread. Take care of your mental health and use resources during this time (e.g. Employee Assistance Program, University Counseling Center, Center for Student Wellness, Mindfulness Center, Student Leadership & Involvement, etc.).
  • Members of the bubble should hold each other accountable in a “care-frontational” way. It is easy to get annoyed with peers who may decide to make a decision with which you disagree or are outside the bounds of public health guidelines. It’s ok to confront issues that you feel may be putting your bubble at risk. There are a variety of campus resources for navigating confrontation and conflict in a healthy way, learn more through internal and external resources with the Peace & Conflict Studies.

For more detailed information on how to safely manage personal and social activities this winter is available via CDC website.


Chris Nelson

Communications Director, University of Utah

coronavirus covid-19 wellness gatherings holidays

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