Health official offers tips for celebrating the holidays in a safe manner

FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – As holiday season approaches, one local health official says this year will be all about getting creative and keeping groups small. 

With Halloween just around the corner, Fayette County Health Officer Dr. Anita Stewart says if you are handing out candy, she says to make sure it is individually wrapped and that you are thinking about creative ways to create space between yourself and the trick-or-treaters.

For those participating in the various trick-or-treat options, she says being in a familiar group and wearing masks will be key to a safe experience.

“So making sure that with the kids’ costumes that they are masking, and that they can breathe well with those masks on and trying to stay in the normal cohorts that those kids are in, so with their classmates or their sports teams, people that they already have the same exposure to,” Dr. Stewart said.

As November approaches, some might have already started making Thanksgiving dinner plans.

Dr. Stewart says when doing so, it is important to think about where your relatives will be coming from, how they will be getting here while also taking into consideration spacing options at the gathering.

This is where she also encourages creativity. 

“Consider doing virtual events or changing up holiday celebrations, so going for a hike instead or playing football outside to celebrate the holidays or if the weather permits, trying to do outdoor dining. Of course that would be safer than not,” she said. 

Dr. Stewart says she knows everyone wants to return to normalcy but says it is important to keep everyone’s health in mind when planning ahead.  

“So I think just remembering that it’s not just about us, that it’s about our family and community as well and certainly thinking about how our behaviors can affect others, so really focusing on what we can do individually to make a big difference overall,” she said. 

If you are planning on inviting family to come in to celebrate or if you are traveling elsewhere, Dr. Stewart says a negative test ahead of time does not mean someone is in the clear because of the incubation period. She says the safest option is to ask all family members to quarantine 14 days before the trip.

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Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.