Guide to the fall and winter holidays

Updated November 17, 2021.

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Winter mug

During the holidays, many people celebrate many different things, and each celebration and tradition is special. What so many of us have in common is the desire to gather with friends and family and the desire to keep each other safe during the pandemic. This year, we are fortunate to have lifesaving vaccines available that will allow us to gather more safely, especially when complemented by other basic public health protocols. 

Getting a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine before gathering with others is the single best way to prevent the spread of the virus. Some adults 18 and older who are fully vaccinated should also now get booster doses to stay protected. If it has been at least six months since you got your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or at least two months since you got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you should get a booster dose. You can get any type of vaccine for your booster dose. It doesn't have to be the same type as the vaccine you already received.

COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are available at more than a thousand providers across the state. It’s free to get vaccinated, and you don’t need an ID or insurance. 

Here are more tips for celebrating safely this year.

Before the holidays
  • Plan a gathering where everyone eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 has been vaccinated. Children as young as 5 years old can now get vaccinated against COVID-19. Make a plan to get your child vaccinated before the holidays. Learn more about vaccines for children.

  • If you are age 18 or older and it has been at least six months since you got your second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or at least two months since you got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you should get a booster to stay protected. Getting a booster will also help protect family and loved ones. 

  • Wear a mask and practice physical distancing while shopping. If you can, use curbside pick up for groceries.

  • Plan your shopping list so you can get everything done in a single trip. Going in a single trip not only saves you precious time; it also helps the environment and decreases your exposure to COVID-19. It’s a win, win, win!

  • Anyone can be exposed to COVID-19. Talk about it now and ask your guests to get tested for COVID-19 before your planned gathering. There are free community testing sites all across Colorado. Coloradans can also order free at-home testing kits. If guests aren’t feeling well, they can skip the party to get much needed rest or attend by video.

Planning a safe gathering
  • Make the holidays safer for everyone by:

    • Hosting an outdoor gathering, which is generally safer than an indoor gathering.

    • Keeping the guest list short. Smaller groups are generally safer than larger groups.

    • Considering a shorter celebration. Shorter gatherings are generally safer than longer gatherings.

  • Remind guests to stay home if they have COVID-19 symptoms, are positive for COVID-19, or have had recent close contact with someone with COVID-19.

  • Follow CDC’s Guidance for traveling safely during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Some counties may have local rules for preventing the spread of COVID-19. Always follow all local public health department guidance.

During the holiday
  • Keep a list (like Santa!) of guests and their contact information so they can be notified quickly in the event of a COVID-19 exposure.

  • If gathering indoors, improve ventilation by opening windows and doors (if it’s safe to do so) or running your heat, AC, or an air purifier.

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