With vaccine distribution ramping up – but COVID-19 not going away – families are faced with difficult decisions about spring holiday gatherings.
Almost 30% of the U.S. population is at least partially vaccinated; 16.1% are fully vaccinated. However, there has been an uptick in cases over the last several days, and Americans face a catch-22 scenario.
While the vaccine rollout has been largely positive, not everyone has been able to get vaccinated. Some family members may be inoculated, but those who don’t yet qualify still rely on masks and social distancing. Families that hope to gather in person this year – for Easter, Passover, Ramadan and other spring holidays – are experiencing conflict over safety measures, who’s invited and even whether it’s safe to gather at all.
Holiday gatherings are good for us
The separation and isolation of the past year have taken a toll on familial relationships. And the CDC has relaxed some precautions for fully vaccinated individuals. The pandemic has put in-person gatherings on hold, but many people are anxious to return to normal.
Jill Suitor, professor of sociology at Purdue University, says that returning to normal holiday gatherings is a critical milestone in pandemic recovery. “Families want to honor long-standing traditions,” she says.
“We do need to move forward,” agrees Ryan Beshel of Chicago. “The tide has turned.”
We need to keep each other safe
The CDC still advises against gatherings with multiple unvaccinated households without the regular precautions: meeting outside, masks and social distancing. Large gatherings and nonessential travel are also discouraged. New COVID-19 variants are cause for concern, among others.
“Holidays have become much more problematic,” says Suitor. “The landscape is changing week by week.”
Families will have to decide for themselves whether or not they will be gathering in person.