Planning for Holiday Celebrations

By: Dr. Joe Anzaldua, MD, Local Health Authority, City of Sugar LandAnzaldua.Joe

As we approach the holiday season, please remember that COVID remains a threat to our community. We are seeing cases begin to increase again, something we expected to see during the winter flu season.

We must continue to take the simple precautions that will keep us safe and help our businesses prosper. Continue to disinfect commonly touched surfaces, and wash your hands often. I know it’s difficult, but try to avoid touching your nose and mouth. And most importantly, avoid large crowds. This is especially important during the upcoming holiday season.

Even small gatherings may accelerate the spread of the coronavirus – possibly leading to a surge in COVID-19 cases, increases in hospitalizations and even an increase in deaths. As we start to approach cooler weather this fall and winter, preventive measures such social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands will become even more important. Public health experts agree that we should take a pass on large holiday gatherings this year. Even smaller indoor social gatherings pose a risk, especially if they involve non-household individuals or family members that are over the age of 70 or have medical conditions that could predispose them to contracting coronavirus.

I’d encourage all of us to limit our activities to low- and moderate-risk activities such as the following:

  • Having a small dinner with only people who live in your household or having a small outdoor dinner with family and friends who live in your community.
  • Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others.
  • Having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family.
  • Shopping online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving or the next Monday.
  • Watching sports events, parades and movies from home or attending a small outdoor sports events with safety precautions in place

Gatherings with more preventive measures, such as mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing pose less risk than gatherings where fewer or no preventive measures are being implemented.

And finally, a word on travel. Staying home and avoiding gatherings is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. If you must travel, be informed of the risks involved and prepare. I’ve prepared answers to some common travel-related questions and provided safety recommendations at

Our public message has been the same all year and now has a renewed sense of urgency -- wear a mask, maintain physical distancing and practice hand hygiene.  Please stay safe. I hope everyone has a healthy and joyous holiday.

Dr. Joe Anzaldua, MD is the local health authority for the City of Sugar Land.