Hosting unvaccinated guests at Thanksgiving? Here’s some advice

Problem Solvers

DENVER (KDVR) — This could be another interesting pandemic Thanksgiving for many Colorado families trying to navigate through the holidays with their loved ones.

Granted, a majority of adults in our state have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but chances are, some of their friends and family haven’t.

So, what’s one to do when it comes to hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year with unvaccinated guests?

The Problem Solvers received some advice from Dr. Michelle Barron, the senior medical director of infection prevention and control for UCHealth.

“You want to have an honest conversation with whoever’s coming and you can decide whether or not that is something that will dictate who comes or who doesn’t come,” Dr. Barron suggested. “So I think you just have to be straight-forward and honest and say, ’these are my household rules, just like all rules we have when we have company’ and people can decide whether that works for them or not.

According to Dr. Barron, there are several ways you can approach this.

“You can ask them [guests] to make sure they have no symptoms and truly zero symptoms. No runny nose that they think is allergies or a sore throat they think is related to allergies or maybe not drinking enough fluids, you can ask them about symptoms. There are home tests available”.

That’s another suggestion: requiring guests to take a rapid test directly before gathering.

“If it’s positive it’s probably a legitimate reason not to show up at someone’s house. If it’s negative, you want to make sure you have that in context of not having any symptoms – because I think, again, no test is perfect and you don’t want to be the one who showed up and gave everyone COVID,” Dr. Barron said.

In terms of how many guests Coloradans should invite over this Thanksgiving, given the state’s current COVID situation, Dr. Barron said it depends on whether your guests’ vaccination status.

“If everyone is vaccinated and nobody has symptoms, I think you can probably have a decent sized gathering. I would’t probably go up to over 50, but you know some people have big parties and if you’re getting over 20 I would even say you need to really think about how much room do we have and what is the air circulation situation and is everyone just kind of coming and going?” Dr. Barron added.

If guests feel uncomfortable, Dr. Barron said another option is mask wearing. Experts also advise hosts to open windows (if it’s not chilly) or to setup air purifiers to help with air circulation.

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