Belmar's Tree Lighting Goes Virtual, Lake Como Cancels Event
TRENTON, NJ — It’s beginning to look a lot less like Christmas all around New Jersey, as state officials have released restrictions and recommendations on celebrating the holidays amid the coronavirus crisis.
“Sharing celebrations with family and friends are important holiday milestones,” said state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli in a press release on holiday health and safety guidance released on November 30. “However, this year will be a holiday season like no other, and we must continue to maintain our vigilance against COVID-19 and celebrate safely and responsibly to ensure healthy holidays.”
Here’s a sampling of some of the state’s “guidance” for holiday gatherings and events, Santa visits and even caroling:
- Gatherings must comply with the current indoor limit of no more than 10 people and the outdoor limit of no more than 25, beginning on December 7.
- Indoor holiday gatherings should be limited to immediate household members, if possible. If hosting a small holiday gathering, limit people touching common items, such as serving utensils. Avoid buffets and drink stations, and seating arrangements should encourage social distancing. Clean commonly touched areas often, and guests should wear masks when not eating or drinking.
- Tree and menorah lightings, and other holiday gatherings should be held outdoors whenever possible, in compliance with current gathering limits.
- Consider alternatives to visiting Santa at indoor locations, such as virtual visits or outdoor socially distanced visits/photos with Santa. If malls and other indoor locations still choose to offer in-person visits, it should be a touchless experience, and visits should be reservation-only, be socially distanced and limited in time. Santa, staff and guests over age 2 must wear masks. Santa should be behind a plexiglass shield in an open area, and children should not be permitted to sit on Santa’s lap.
- All singing groups should be socially distanced from each other and their audience during each performance, including caroling. Singing groups that perform in public must be at least 10 feet away from others or have a physical barrier between them and the audience. All performers and guests must wear masks, and performances must adhere to indoor and outdoor gathering limits.
- Holiday parades are discouraged. For those taking place, organizers should consider limiting in-person attendance and must maintain a list of names and phone numbers for all participants, which should be turned over to the local health department to assist with contact tracing. Parades should be socially distanced, and all participants should wear masks. Parade participants should not be permitted to throw items to spectators from floats or cars.
- At winter events, such as holiday villages and markets, all vendors, organizers, staff members and attendees should observe social distancing and wear masks. Reservations should be considered to limit crowd size, and these events should be held outdoors when possible.
- Travel outside your home should be limited.
Click here for the full “Winter Holiday and Celebration Guidance During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
- Click here for the New Jersey COVID-19 Dashboard.
- Click here for Monmouth County’s latest coronavirus information.
- Click here for COVID-19 testing information.
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