COVID-19 may press pause on holiday gatherings

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The pandemic may alter the way we celebrate this holiday season.

Tania Ortiz, Opinion Editor

The holiday season is quickly approaching upon us. Typically, we would be excited to gather around the dinner table with our families and celebrate without a hitch, but not so much this year.

The pandemic has already changed how we gather with our loved ones and friends, but now we have to reevaluate how we celebrate the holidays. 

The nation’s top health official, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has warned about the potential spike in COVID-19 infections stemming from holiday parties, even if the gatherings are small and among relatives.

The next few months are going to be the biggest challenge for our country because we are so accustomed to gathering in large numbers during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. It wouldn’t be a proper holiday celebration without family, but due to the current circumstances the definition of holiday celebrations will be changed.

The state of the pandemic in our country is making us meticulously plan out our holiday plans. As signs of a third wave are becoming more apparent and with an emerging flu season, this year’s big holiday dinner might as well be canceled or conducted through Zoom.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has updated its guidelines for holiday celebrations on their website, stating that staying home and having a small gathering with only people who live within your household presents the lowest risk to your health.

In California, the Department of Public Health has also released its own set of guidelines, recommending that gatherings should be kept short, and face coverings should be worn to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. The guidelines have already caused a bit of stir among people as they are quite restricting.

Keep in mind, we are still in a pandemic. 

It doesn’t matter if the number of cases in California hasn’t fluctuated much in the last month or two, COVID-19 hasn’t gone away and we simply can’t forget that it exists.

To stay healthy and avoid getting infected with COVID-19, we are going to have to press pause on some traditions to ensure the wellness of our loved ones.”

— Tania Ortiz, Opinion Editor & author of the piece

It is also understandable to feel frustrated at the guidelines and the current state of the country. We are all going a little stir crazy and want to have a little bit of normalcy after 2020 put us all through the wringer.

While it is tempting to just say “screw it” and go against the guidelines to spend time with our loved ones, having that mentality can lead to loved ones potentially getting infected with the virus.

The danger of contracting COVID-19 is not individual, it is collective.

The consequences that can happen not only can affect you but also your parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc., the list can go on. To stay healthy and avoid getting infected with COVID-19, we are going to have to press pause on some traditions to ensure the wellness of our loved ones.

There are safe alternatives, like Zoom that can still make it possible for families to gather for the holidays. The negative aspect of this option is that having Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner over Zoom may be awkward and not replicate the feeling of togetherness we are used to.

This year’s holiday season will look and feel different putting a strain on our spirits. It may be devastating to know that we most likely won’t be able to gather with our families in the next couple of months, but know that this is for the well-being of our families and communities. 

Hopefully, by this time next year, we will be able to resume our holiday traditions without worrying about the spread of COVID-19.

The Cougar Chronicle The independent student news site of California