Although the long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine is now here, cases and hospitalizations continue to soar and holiday travel and gatherings are cause for concern for many. However, recent guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide recommendations for safely celebrating the winter holidays.

The guidelines largely discourage travel, especially for those who come from or are traveling to communities where case rates are high and hospitals are already overwhelmed. In addition, people at high risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes, or those that live with someone vulnerable, are strongly advised to rethink their travel plans and stay home.

For those planning on hosting or attending a holiday get-together, the CDC provides a thorough list of recommendations, including limiting the number of guests, moving the festivities outdoors and providing plenty of hand sanitizer and extra masks for guests. The guidelines emphasize wearing a mask at all times — even if outdoors — frequent hand-washing and maintaining physical distance throughout the gathering.

For high-risk individuals or for those with vulnerable family members, the CDC recommends phone calls or virtual visits as the safest option. The guidelines also include other risk-free holiday activities to consider, like virtual gift exchanges and ugly sweater contests, and driving around the community to view lights and holiday displays.

For a complete list of ways to stay safe over the holidays, please refer to these CDC guidelines.