The holidays are almost here, and that usually means seeing family and friends. Holiday parties, gift exchanges, big family meals – these are all traditions that make the holiday season what it is. It’s pretty hard to imagine anything different, but this year, Dr. Fauci says we need to make some changes.

For starters, in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, Dr. Fauci doesn’t think it’s a good idea to have any sort of large gatherings. Traveling a long distance to visit family for a large gathering held inside might be normal in a different year, but in 2020, it presents a very high risk of someone getting sick.

  1.  Consider a Virtual Gathering

    The safest way to celebrate with family and friends, especially if those family and friends live far away, is virtually. We picture a laptop or phone set up where someone might normally be sitting during Thanksgiving dinner. Dr. Fauci’s own daughters won’t be traveling home for the holidays in order to protect their dad. He told CBS News, “They themselves, because of their concern for me and my age, have decided they’re not going to come home for Thanksgiving, even though all three of them want very much to come home for Thanksgiving.”

  2.  Travel with Caution

    If you do travel to a family gathering over the holidays, it’s best to take every possible precaution. If possible, drive instead of flying and don’t make stops along the way. Once you arrive, quarantine yourself for at least 5 days and get tested for COVID-19.

  3.  Get Tested

    Speaking of getting tested for COVID-19, here’s an important reminder: about 1 in 5 people with the virus are asymptomatic. That means, even if you feel 100% healthy and think that it’s not possible that you could have COVID-19, you still might be an asymptomatic spreader. Don’t chance getting your family sick.

  4.  Practice Social Distancing

    Dr. Fauci told CBS Evening News,When people do things in crowds without masks—particularly indoors—it’s just asking for trouble. We know without a doubt that those are the events that have spreading among people. It isn’t as if we haven’t been there before. We know that’s trouble. It just seems obvious you’ve got to avoid that.” With this in mind, when it comes to family gatherings, the smaller the better. It would be safest to keep the celebrations within the family that lives in your household, but if you are going to visit family or invite family to your home, keep the gathering small. You want to be able to maintain social distancing during the gathering. Ideally, you also want to hold your gathering outside.

  5.  Wear Face Masks

    At any time that you’re not eating or drinking at your holiday celebrations, be sure to wear a face mask. He told 60 Minutes that “masks really do work in preventing infection.” Dr. Fauci believes that wearing a face mask is so important that he would even be for instituting a nationwide mask wearing rule. He told CNN’s Erin Burnett, “Well, if people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it…I think that would be a great idea to have everybody do it uniformly.” That definitely means that he believes that it is a good idea to wear a mask when you are around anyone outside the people in your household including at holiday gatherings.