With COVID-19 cases and deaths at a historic high, Public Health officials are asking residents to find alternatives to traditional Thanksgiving and Black Friday events that will lessen the spread of the virus.

The best way to slow the spread is to avoid travel, in-person gatherings with people outside your household and going to crowded events, like standing in crowded lines at Black Friday sales. Using online alternatives to connect with family members outside your household and to shop for Black Friday deals will help prevent what could be a super spreader holiday.

“During this Thanksgiving holiday we must make decisions that keep our friends, neighbors, and families safe. We must do our part; our actions will be responsible for the trajectory of COVID-19 in our community. We ask that you join us in slowing the spread,” stated Interim Health Director Alexandria Rimmer.

If you do have to go out or have guests over, it’s important to:
– Wear a mask over your mouth and nose anytime you’re around anyone who’s not a part of your household.
– Do not host, travel or go out if you if you’re sick, have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are waiting on test results.
– Gatherings should be no larger than 10 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.
– If possible, hold your gatherings outdoors. If you’re indoors, open windows to increase ventilation
– Arrange space so people from different households can stay at least 6 feet apart and plan activities where social distancing can be maintained.
– Limit physical contact. Avoid handshakes and hugs. Wave or verbally greet each other instead.
– Wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitizer.
– Avoid self-serve food and having multiple people handling the same utensils. Have one person serve the food or encourage guests to bring their own food and drink. Use disposable utensils and dishes.
– Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces, such as door handles, sink handles, and bathroom surfaces.
– If you need to shop in person, go when stores will be less crowded or consider shopping at smaller businesses that won’t draw massive crowds. Do not stand in crowded lines for Black Friday deals.
– Download the SlowCOVIDNC app at https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/slowcovidnc