If you are celebrating the New Year with people outside your household, make sure you follow steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Wear a mask

A family is shown sledding in the snow in a neighborhood. Each family member is wearing a mask.

  • Wear a mask with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19 to protect others and yourself.
  • Wear your mask over your nose and mouth, secure it under your chin, and make sure it fits snugly against the sides of your face.
  • Wear a mask indoors and outdoors.
  • In cold weather, wear your mask under your scarf, ski mask, or balaclava.
  • Keep a spare mask in case your mask becomes wet from moisture in your breath or from snow or rain.

Stay at least 6 feet apart

  • Stay 6 feet away from others who do not live with you.
  • Indoors or outdoors, you are more likely to get or spread COVID-19 when you are in close contact with others for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.
  • It is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick to stay 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from other people.
Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces
  • The more people you are in contact with, the more likely you are to be exposed to COVID-19.
  • Avoid gatherings and celebrations with a lot of people that make staying 6 feet apart from those who don’t live with you difficult.
  • Avoid indoor spaces as much as possible, especially ones that aren’t well ventilated.
  • If indoors, open windows and doors. Use a window fan to blow air out, which will pull fresh air in through the open windows.

Wash your hands

A person is shown wearing a mask and washing her hands indoors.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing and before eating.
    • Make sure to dry your hands completely using a clean towel or by air drying.
  • If soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose, and mouth.

Stay home if you are sick

  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Isolate yourself from other members of your family and wear a mask.
  • Even if you don’t feel sick, you can still spread COVID-19 to others.

Get a flu shot as soon as possible

A person is shown walking toward a door of a clinic that has a poster hung up that reads “FLU SHOTS.”

  • The flu shot can help protect you and your family, friends, and community from getting and spreading flu.
  • By getting a flu shot, you can also help lower hospital visits and serious health problems from flu.

COVID-19 vaccines

  • While it is possible that some people may receive COVID-19 vaccines before New Year’s Eve, continue taking steps to protect yourself and others for some time to come.
Safer New Year’s Celebrations with Friends and Family

Staying home and celebrating with the people you live with or celebrating virtually with loved ones is the safest choice this year. Do not attend large gatherings this year. If you do host or attend a small gathering, everyone can take steps to make celebrating the New Year safer.

If you host a celebration

  • Talk with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
  • Limit the number of guests.
  • Keep celebrations outdoors, if possible.
  • If indoors, open windows and doors. Use a window fan to blow air out, which will pull fresh air in through the open windows.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
  • Have guests bring their own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.
  • Have extra unused masks available for your guests and encourage everyone to wear them inside and outside.
  • Keep background music volume low so guests don’t need to shout.

If you attend a celebration

A person is shown wearing a mask and carrying a basket filled with food and a bottle of hand sanitizer.
  • It’s okay if you decide to stay home and remain apart from others. Do what’s best for you.
  • If traveling for a celebration, know what to do before, during, and after travel.
  • Bring your own food, drinks, and disposable plates, cups, and utensils.
  • Wear a mask indoors and outdoors and safely store your mask while eating and drinking.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs that can alter judgement and make it difficult to practice COVID-19 safety measures.
  • Avoid shouting and singing.
  • Avoid areas where food is prepared, such as the kitchen.
  • Use single-use options, like condiment packets.
Consider Other Activities to Celebrate New Year’s

Have virtual celebrations with loved ones

A family is shown talking to loved ones by using their computer and virtual meeting technology.
  • Attend a virtual concert or performance.
  • Plan a virtual countdown to midnight with friends.
  • Enjoy a virtual dinner or dessert with friends and family.

Plan a New Year’s party for the people you live with

A family is shown indoors, holding presents, with a laptop in front of them. They are talking to other individuals who are shown on the laptop screen.
  • Decorate, play music, and have a dance party with the people you live with.
  • Have a pajama party and watch your favorite movies or play games.
  • Plan a special meal or dessert with your family.

Reach out to family, friends, and neighbors

An urban neighborhood of apartment buildings and condominums is shown. People are standing at their windows and cheering together at midnight to ring in the new year.
  • Call, text, or leave a voicemail for family, friends, and neighbors wishing them a happy new year.
  • Call friends and family to count down to the new year together.
  • Plan a neighborhood countdown to midnight. People who live with each other can stand in front of their house and cheer together at midnight.

Other ideas

A family is shown playing a game in their home.
  • Watch a livestreamed firework display, concert, First Night event, or other New Year’s programming from your home, such as the Times Square New Year’s Eve ball drop. Virtual events are happening across the United States.
  • Take care of yourself and do something you enjoy, such as reading a book or taking a walk.
  • Pick up a special meal from a local restaurant to share with your household.
  • Plan an outdoor activity with people you live with such as a hike or sledding.
  • Set new year resolutions. Find out if your hometown is sponsoring a special social media event and share your resolutions.
Digital Resource
illustration of socially distanced people watching fireworks for New Years celebration

Safest way to celebrate the arrival of the new year.

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