Get Togethers and Gatherings During COVID-19

Celebrations, Holidays & Hanging Out

COVID-19 is still spreading in our community and no gathering is without risk. Many traditional holiday celebrations will need to be different this year to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Each get-together increases your chance of getting or spreading the virus to people you live with and the people you’ll see. Older adults and people with pre-existing health conditions→ are especially vulnerable.

Oregon Health Authority: Make safety part of your holiday celebrations→

Consider these tips for ways to celebrate holidays and traditions more safely (CDC)→

Oregon Requirements

Check Columbia County's risk level→

  • Gathering guidance per risk level→
    • Extreme Risk: Limit the gathering to no more than six people, indoor.
    • High Risk: Limit the gathering to no more than six people, indoor.
    • Moderate Risk: Limit the gathering to no more than eight people, indoor.
    • Lower Risk: Limit the gathering to no more than 10 people, indoor.
  • Face coverings are required→ in indoor public spaces and outdoors when you can’t keep 6 feet from others. They’re also strongly recommended when gathering indoors with anyone you don’t live with.
  • Guidance FAQs – Gatherings

To make gatherings safer

  • Keep it Small - Limit the number of people you spend time with outside your household, and the number of gatherings you attend.
  • Keep it the Same - Hang out with the same group of people rather than mixing it up. A small social circle is safer.
  • Keep it Outdoors - The risk of getting or passing the virus is lower outside than inside. Fresh air and the ability to spread out can keep you all safer.

If you or any guests feel sick, do not go

Stay home if you:

Plan ahead with friends and family

Make a plan ahead of time with the people you are going to see. Agree on rules that are comfortable for everyone.

  • Tell guests to bring everything they need. 
  • Have plenty of disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer.
  • Ask everyone to wear a face covering→ whenever they are not eating and encourage others to do the same. Have extra, disposable face coverings on hand (don't share reusable ones).
  • Keep a list of who attends. If someone later tests positive for COVID-19, public health may need this information for contact tracing→
  • Only invite children if you are sure they can stay 6 feet away from people who they don’t live with.

Limit sharing of food and drink 

Have everyone bring their own food, drinks and supplies. If you do want to serve food: 

  • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer before and after eating.
  • Use single-use cups, plates, utensils, and condiments.
  • Designate one person to serve food and drinks to everyone else.
  • Don’t serve “finger foods” such as chips and dips out of open bowls. 
  • Don't serve foods that people will handle over and over, like condiment bottles or bags of buns. 

Give everyone space 

It’s natural to be physically close with friends and family, but in order to keep everyone healthy, keep your distance and resist the urge to hug, kiss, shake hands or high-five.

  • Stay 6 feet away from people who don’t live with you.
  • Use waves or hand signals to greet guests. 
  • Avoid sharing toys, bats, balls, or objects passed back and forth.
  • If you sing, wear masks inside and also outside if you cannot keep 6 feet apart. Singing, chanting, or shouting can release droplets that can spread COVID-19.

Indoor gatherings

Indoor gatherings with people you don’t live with are high risk. If you do meet indoors:

  • Keep it small
  • Keep it short
  • Stay 6 feet away from those you don’t live with
  • Always wear a face covering→
  • Open windows and doors
  • Try not to touch surfaces and wipe them down often
  • Avoid using other people’s bathrooms, if possible. Allowing guests to use bathrooms in your house is relatively low-risk, but ask them to disinfect high-touch surfaces (doorknobs, sink hardware, levers) after each use.
  • Wash hands often or use hand sanitizer

After your gathering

  • Pay attention to any new symptoms for members of your household.
  • Get tested for COVID-19→ if you develop symptoms.
  • Keep a list of attendees for 60 days.

Traveling and Out-of-Town Guests

Travel increases your chance of getting or spreading COVID-19. Avoid traveling or hosting overnight guests. CDC travel safety tips→

Public Health Quick Links
General Information
Michael Paul
Phone Numbers
General Public Health Inquiries and 24-hour Emergency Contact: 503-397-7247
Fax: 888-204-8568
Emergencies: Dial 911
230 Strand St.
Columbia County Courthouse Annex
St. Helens,

Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. to 4:30