COVID-19 Harm Reduction Tips Become Urgent as Cases Surge


California Department of Public Health issues safety measures to reduce risk of COVID-19 spread

With one million COVID-19 cases confirmed in California to date, a new travel advisory was just issued, and health officials are concerned about the surge we are experiencing. There is an urgent need to educate the public about what they CAN AND SHOULD DO to protect their families and their communities. NOW IS THE TIME to help educate Californians about specific ways they can pitch in and do their part to slow the spread, starting with your own community.

The following guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) can help members of your community plan safer gatherings and help loved ones reduce potential harm. Please use any or all of these guidelines for small gatherings and tips for a healthier holiday season to help educate and inform your community. Here are some specific tips to share:

  1. Check your county’s status to find out what types of activities and gatherings are permitted in your county based on the current spread of the virus.
  2. Wear a mask in public settings, like on public and mass transportation, shopping and in stores, and anywhere you will be around people who do not live with you.
  3. Wear a mask not only with people you do not know, but with anyone you don’t live with including close friends and family. While we feel safe and can easily let our guard down around loved ones, the risk of transmission is still there.
  4. Keep your distance – Stay six feet apart from individuals outside your household, especially from older family members and those with chronic health conditions.
  5. Do not gather indoors with other households if your county prohibits it. Indoor gathering is prohibited in purple tier counties.
  6. If you are in a county where indoor gathering is permitted, when indoors, keep windows and doors open so fresh air circulates and continue to practice safe behaviors like wearing a mask, washing your hands, and using all the space you can indoors; spread things out.
  7. Avoid sharing utensils or drinks with anyone.
  1. Commit to keeping gatherings short (under two hours), whether inside or outside. The longer the duration, the higher the risk of spreading COVID-19.
  1. People at higher risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 (such as older adults and people with chronic medical conditions) are strongly urged not to attend any gatherings, especially indoor gatherings. If you gather with older people or those with chronic conditions, make sure they wear a surgical or N95 mask.
  2. It is safest to celebrate the holidays with the people who already live with you, but if you invite others, invite no more than two other households to your gathering.
  3. Minimize mixing – Participating in multiple gatherings with different households or groups is strongly discouraged. Keep the households that you interact with stable over time. By spending time with the same people, risk of transmission is reduced.
  4. Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading the virus. Incoming travelers from out of state and Californians returning to the state should self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival before mixing indoors and with others.
  5. Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  6. Stay home if you are sick.

To learn more ways to stay safer visit