The City of Long Beach wants everyone to enjoy the upcoming holidays. As the holiday season is a time for festivities and gatherings, the City is reminding residents to celebrate safely and adhere to the Safer at Home Health Order and safety protocols to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and the flu.
While some gatherings are now allowed, cases of COVID19 are rapidly rising, and all gatherings are discouraged during this surge. Long Beach Health officials are encouraging residents, especially those who are at increased risk of developing serious complications from the flu and COVID-19, including older adults and those with underlying health conditions, to find alternate ways to socialize without gathering in-person.
The City has issued guidance, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), urging residents to consider how holiday plans can be modified to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to keep friends, families and communities healthy and safe, including:
- Host outdoor gatherings with as few guests as possible, but no more than three families, including your own, and no more than a total of 15 guests. Even outdoors, require guests to wear face coverings when not eating or drinking.
- Keep gathering durations short. Private gatherings should be limited to two hours or less in duration.
- Encourage guests to bring food, drinks and disposable utensils for themselves and for members of their own household only.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use. If you choose to use any shared items that are reusable (e.g., seating covers, tablecloths, linen napkins), wash, clean, and sanitize them after the event.
- Arrange tables and chairs to allow for physical distancing. People from the same household should be in groups together and do not need to be six feet apart, but should maintain a six-foot distance from other families.
- Encourage guests to avoid singing or shouting, especially indoors, as these activities release respiratory droplets into the air.
- Plan ahead and ask guests to avoid contact with people outside of their households for 14 days before the gathering.
- Shop in open air markets that ensure proper distancing from others and use contactless services for purchased items, such as curbside pick-up. Avoid businesses (places?) where there is overcrowding, people aren’t physically distanced, or are not wearing facial coverings.
Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from the virus. Given the increase in COVID-19 cases both in California and throughout the country, residents should avoid non-essential travel and are encouraged to stay home and refrain from increased contact with others outside of their household. People should not travel if they are sick or if they have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days. People should also not travel with someone who is sick.
The City is also reminding residents of other safety tips and precautions to take during the Thanksgiving weekend:
- Thanksgiving is a peak day for home cooking fires.
- The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends against deep-frying turkeys; if you decide to do so, follow safety recommendations, and never deep-fry a frozen turkey.
- Always stay in the kitchen while cooking; unattended cooking is the leading cause of cooking fires and casualties.
- Always keep children away from hot stoves.
- Thanksgiving is also a peak holiday for DUI-related traffic accidents.
- In the City of Long Beach, DUI-related traffic collisions claimed the lives of nine people in 2018 and seven people in 2019.
- Last year, 164 traffic citations were issued for violations including speeding, running a red light and unsafe turns during Thanksgiving weekend alone.
- To prevent injury to yourself and others, designate a driver, or use a taxi or ride-sharing service to get to and from your destination.
- Remember that driving under the influence includes alcohol, marijuana, some prescription and over the counter drugs and illegal drugs.
- Plan routes in advance and avoid texting or otherwise using a cell phone while driving.
Residents should continue to be mindful of situations where there is a higher risk of COVID-19 and flu transmission which can contribute to the spread of the virus, including:
- Activities where it is difficult to wear a face covering the entire time, such as eating and drinking.
- Activities where you see people you have not seen recently, such as those outside of your immediate household, extended family and friends.
- Activities where it is difficult to keep your distance, such as multiple people at a small table.
- Activities that are indoors and do not allow for plenty of fresh air to circulate.
It is possible to be co-infected with both the flu and COVID-19, both of which could increase a person’s risk of serious health outcomes. Battling the flu and COVID-19 at the same time can be a hardship on one’s respiratory system and have lasting effects. The CDC also reports that, while getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, it can save healthcare resources for the care of patients with COVID-19. This means getting a flu vaccine this year is more important than ever.
Residents are encouraged to contact their healthcare provider or local pharmacy to receive a flu vaccine. The City is also offering free flu vaccinations through Nov. 21.
The community is encouraged to call the Long Beach Police Department to report dangerous or illegal activities. Every call matters. For non-emergency calls, please dial (562) 435-6711. For emergencies, dial 9-1-1. All calls for service provide data to the City that is helpful in communicating safety messages to the community every year.
For additional information and holiday safety tips, view the City’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Guidance for Celebrating the Holidays.
For the latest information on COVID-19, with details on all that the City of Long Beach is doing to keep its residents safe, visit longbeach.gov/COVID19 and follow @LongBeachCity on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.