News & Events

Navigating the Pandemic During the Holidays

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Know the risks, take precautions if you’re traveling.

The holiday season is typically when we see a flurry of travel and get-togethers. This year, however, we must navigate a pandemic during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Unlike years past, instead of shopping around for the best prices on flights, hotels and other accommodations, we’re likely grappling with whether to stay home or see loved ones for holiday gatherings.

Here in California, the surge in COVID-19 cases caused what Gov. Gavin Newsom and state public health officials called “an emergency brake” to help slow the spread of the virus. That resulted in putting 94.1% of the state’s population in the most restrictive tier.

As COVID-19 cases rise throughout the nation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommendations for both travel during the COVID-19 pandemic and holiday celebrations and small gatherings.

If you’re traveling this holiday season, the CDC recommendations are:

  • Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when in public settings, including on public transportation and in transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
  • Avoid close contact by staying at least six feet apart (about two arms’ length) from anyone who is not from your household.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Thanksgiving tends to be the holiday when many people travel long distances to be with family. The CDC notes saying at home is the best way to protect yourself and others, but if you must travel, know the risks.

For Thanksgiving in particular, the CDC recommendations are:

  • Have a small dinner with only people who live in your household.
  • Prepare traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and deliver meals in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others.
  • Have a virtual dinner and share recipes with friends and family.
  • Shop online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving or the next Monday.
  • Watch sports events, parades, and movies from home.

With most of the state being put in a more restrictive tier, this is a reminder our eight CalPERS Regional Offices remain closed to in-person appointments until further notice. However, you can schedule a phone appointment by logging in to your myCalPERS account. We’ve implemented this step out of an abundance of caution to protect the health of our members and our Regional Office employees.

Other Resources

The state COVID-19 website includes data tracking the pandemic, an up-to-date county map, and state dashboard.