CDC releases new suggestions to keep your family safe this holiday season

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — What are your holiday plans? With Thanksgiving a little more than a month away, many of us are keeping a close eye on COVID cases and laying out safety guidelines for gatherings.              

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new suggestions to keep your family safe this holiday season.

The CDC encourages anyone eligible for a vaccine to get the shots and mask up regardless of vaccination status.

RELATED: Total US COVID-19 cases top 45 million as death toll surpasses 725,000

”I’m hoping to go up to my cousin’s house for Thanksgiving,” Willie Faulkner told FOX13.  

Faulkner said he is fully vaccinated and considering traveling to St. Louis to celebrate Thanksgiving this year.

”I can’t travel like I used to because of dialysis and other ailments, so I’m hoping to go,” said Faulkner. 

If you’re getting together with family for the holidays, it’s time to start planning. The CDC recommends getting a COVID vaccine if you’re eligible. It’s part of an effort to protect people like Faulkner with underlying health issues. 

“If you’re going to be around those who are immunocompromised or someone unable to get vaccinated, you want to give as many safety precautions as you can,” said Morgan Jones, a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare. 

Health experts also suggest wearing masks in public, indoor settings regardless of your vaccination status.

RELATED: Reports: FDA approval for ‘mix and match’ approach to COVID-19 boosters expected this week

“Gathering outside is the thing to do. It makes me feel comfortable. We’re entering the cold months, so it’s more challenging in Memphis,” said Jones. 

Faulkner is sure if he does travel to St. Louis, his family will follow the CDC’s suggested guidelines. 

“They’re always using precautions. They’re a stickler for that,” said Faulkner. 

Health leaders said if you plan to get fully vaccinated for COVID, the time is now to get going. You’re considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your final dose.