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Posted on: November 17, 2020

Routt County Issues Thanksgiving Guidance to Stop the Spread

Thanksgiving food pic

After the most recent spike in cases in Routt County, the Routt County Commissioners and the Department of Public Health issued a guidance today to urge residents and visitors to Routt County to limit their Thanksgiving plans to household members and not out of town guests, essentially, “Keep it small Routt County”.


“Routt County continues to see a surge of COVID-19 cases and increased hospitalizations.  We echo Governor Polis’s request to cancel Thanksgiving gatherings of non-household members.  There are many ways to celebrate Thanksgiving with your household and keep our community safe.  Remember the state public health order states gatherings are limited to two households, families and not more than ten people.  But we ask that even if something is allowed, consider whether it is a good idea.  Limiting to your own immediate family and keeping it small is the best course of action,” said Roberta Smith, Routt County Public Health Director.


Ideas for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time when many families travel long distances to celebrate together.  Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. If you must travel, be informed of the risks involved.  If your children are coming home from college or other activities, please follow these travel recommendations.


Lower risk activities

  • Have a small dinner with only people who live in your household
  • Prepare traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and deliver them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others
  • Have a virtual dinner and share recipes with friends and family
  • Shop small local shops or online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving or the next Monday
  • Watch sports events, parades, and movies from home



Moderate risk activities

  • Have a small outdoor dinnerwith family and friends who live in your community 
  • Visit pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wear a mask and maintain social distancing
  • Attend a small outdoor sports events with safety precautions in place


Higher risk activities

Avoid these higher risk activities to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19:

  • Shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving
  • Participating or being a spectator at a crowded race or sports event
  • Attending crowded parades
  • Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors
  • Attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household


Virus spread risk at holiday celebrations

Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household poses low risk for spread. In-person gatherings pose varying levels of risk. Event organizers and attendees should consider the risk of virus spread based on event size and use of mitigation strategies, as outlined in the Considerations for Events and Gatherings. There are several factors that contribute to the risk of getting infected or infecting others with the virus that causes COVID-19 at a holiday celebration. In combination, these factors will create various amounts of risk, so it is important to consider them individually and together:

  • Community levels of COVID-19 – Higher levels of COVID-19 cases and community spread in the gathering location, as well as where attendees are coming from, increase the risk of infection and spread among attendees. Family and friends should consider the number and rate of COVID-19 cases in their community and in the community where they plan to celebrate when considering whether to host or attend a holiday celebration. Information on the number of cases in an area can be found on Harvard’s Global Institute of Health website.
  • The location of the gathering – Indoor gatherings generally pose more risk than outdoor gatherings. Indoor gatherings with poor ventilation pose more risk than those with good ventilation, such as those with open windows or doors.
  • The duration of the gathering – Gatherings that last longer pose more risk than shorter gatherings.
  • The number of people at the gathering – Gatherings with more people pose more risk than gatherings with fewer people. CDC does not have a limit or recommend a specific number of attendees for gatherings. The size of a holiday gathering should be determined based on the ability to reduce or limit contact between attendees, the risk of spread between attendees, and state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations.
  • The locations attendees are traveling from – Gatherings with attendees who are traveling from different places pose a higher risk than gatherings with attendees who live in the same area. Higher levels of COVID-19 cases and community spread in the gathering location, or where attendees are coming from, increase the risk of infection and spread among attendees.
  • The behaviors of attendees prior to the gathering – Gatherings with attendees who are not adhering to social distancing (staying at least 6 feet apart), mask wearing, hand washing, and other prevention behaviors pose more risk than gatherings with attendees who are engaging in these preventative behaviors.
  • The behaviors of attendees during the gathering – Gatherings with more preventive measures in place, such as mask wearing, social distancing, and hand washing, pose less risk than gatherings where fewer or no preventive measures are being implemented.

People who should not attend in-person holiday celebrations:


People with or exposed to COVID-19
 Do not host or participate in any in-person festivities if you or anyone in your household


People at increased risk for severe illness
 If you are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, or live or work with someone at increased risk of severe illness, you should

  • Avoid in-person gatherings with people who do not live in your household.
  • Avoid larger gatherings and consider attending activities that pose lower risk (as described throughout this page) if you decide to attend an in-person gathering with people who do not live in your household.


Holiday travel

Traveling increases the chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. Use information from the following webpages to decide whether to go on holiday travel:


If you decide to travel or host out of county guests, follow these safety measures to protect yourself and others from COVID-19:

  • Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when in public places.
  • Avoid close contact by staying at least 6 feet apart (about 2 arms’ length) from anyone who is not from your household.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Self-quarantine for two weeks after returning home from travel


Get your flu vaccine

Gatherings can contribute to the spread of other infectious diseases. Getting a flu vaccine is an essential part of protecting your health and your family’s health this season. September and October are good times to get vaccinated. However, flu vaccines are still useful any time during the flu season and can often be accessed into January or later.



CDC’s guidance on celebrations and small gatherings


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