Protect Yourself & Others: COVID-19
Celebrations and gatherings
There are several ways to enjoy time with family and friends and protect your health. We encourage Minnesotans to take the following steps to make your gatherings safer.
- Get vaccinated. The best way to keep your family and friends safe is to get vaccinated if you are eligible.
- Get a booster. All Minnesotans age 12 and older should get a booster shot when they are due.
- Lay low before you go. Minimize activities that present a high risk of exposure (attending crowded indoor public events, etc.) a couple of weeks before holiday gatherings or travel so you don't get COVID-19 and spread it at a holiday event.
- Get tested. Take advantage of COVID-19 testing options so you can know before you go. You can go to a testing site or use the at-home testing program. It is especially important to get tested if you have symptoms or were in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
- Some locations may be closed on or around holidays. Check hours before you go.
- Stay home if you are sick. If you have symptoms or test positive, stay home and away from others. Do not attend or host a gathering.
- Wear well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth if you are in public indoor settings if you are not fully vaccinated, and even if you are fully vaccinated in communities experiencing substantial or high levels of COVID-19 transmission—that includes all of Minnesota.
- Masks are required on public transportation, including buses and airplanes.
- MDH recommends wearing a high-quality mask to help limit the spread of COVID-19, including variants like Omicron. Examples of high-quality masks are N95 or KN95 masks, which are very good at blocking droplets. If you cannot get that type of mask, wear a well-fitting mask with at least two layers of tightly woven fabric. You can also layer a disposable mask under a cloth mask to increase effectiveness.
- Gather outdoors or in an area with good ventilation. If indoors, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors if possible. Learn more about how to improve airflow, ventilation, circulation, and more at Indoor Air Considerations: COVID-19.
- Avoid crowded settings. Gather in a place where people can keep space between each other.
- Travel safer. Refer to the traveling section below.
Additional guidance can be found on CDC: Holiday Celebrations.
Slow the spread
It is up to all of us to protect ourselves and others by following recommendations to slow the spread of COVID-19. The more steps you take to slow the spread of COVID-19, the safer you will be. No single step on its own is perfect at preventing COVID-19 spread, so try to layer prevention measures when and where you can.
- Lowering Your Risk of COVID-19 (PDF)
Diagram of activities and settings with less risk and more risk.
- Recommendations for Attendees and Organizers of Events: COVID-19
Get vaccinated. Getting your COVID-19 vaccine is one of the best things you can do to help prevent getting or spreading COVID-19. All Minnesotans age 5 and older are eligible to get vaccinated. Minnesotans age 12 and older should also get a booster shot when they are due.
If you are not vaccinated (including children)
- Keep at least 6 feet away from people from other households.
- Wear a mask indoors and outdoors when you cannot keep 6 feet away from others.
If you are fully vaccinated
- Learn more at About COVID-19 Vaccine: For fully vaccinated people.
Vaccinated or not vaccinated, MDH strongly recommends that you:
- Wear a mask in specific settings or situations found at Recommendations for Wearing Masks.
- Wash your hands often, with soap and water. Wash for at least 20 seconds.
- If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
- Hand Hygiene
- Follow guidance on staying home (quarantine) if you were exposed to someone who has COVID-19. People who are fully vaccinated and boosted when due or who have had COVID-19 in the past three months may not need to quarantine in many situations. Learn more at Close Contacts and Quarantine.
- Stay home if you are sick. Wear a mask if you must go out.
- Cover Your Cough: cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. Throw used tissues in the trash. Wash your hands.
- Work from home if possible.
- Clean and then disinfect surfaces. Learn more at CDC: Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Home.
If you travel, do what you can to protect yourself, your family, and communities, even on road trips or travel within Minnesota.
- People who are not fully vaccinated, including children, should delay travel if possible. Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.
- Do not travel if you are sick or have tested positive for COVID-19, even if you are vaccinated.
- Do not travel if you had close contact with someone with COVID-19.
Students returning home for school breaks are strongly encouraged to follow CDC recommendations and the recommendations of their school district or Institutions of Higher Education, whichever is applicable.
Some jobs may have different requirements for traveling. Check with your employer about recommendations for returning from travel.
For recommendations and things to consider before, during, and after travel (e.g., testing, quarantining, social distancing), visit CDC: Domestic Travel During COVID-19.
- If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, get tested before and after your trip: COVID-19 Testing.
International travel may pose additional risk, even for fully vaccinated travelers. Follow federal guidelines at CDC: International Travel During COVID-19.
For the latest requirements and recommendations by destination, visit U.S. Department of State: Travel and CDC: COVID-19 Travel Recommendations by Destination. If you are a non-U.S. resident looking to travel to Minnesota, contact your country's embassy in the United States for additional guidance.
People at increased risk
Risk for severe illness increases with age, and people of any age who have underlying medical conditions may have a greater risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. Ask your health care provider if you have greater risk of getting sicker from COVID-19.
For more information, visit:
- CDC: People at Increased Risk
- Managing Chronic Conditions during COVID-19
- CDC: COVID-19 and HIV
- MATEC: COVID-19 Information for Persons Living with HIV in Minnesota (Google Doc)
Based on current information, pregnant people might have a greater risk for getting very sick from COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant people. Mother-to-child transmission of coronavirus during pregnancy is unlikely, but after birth a newborn is susceptible to person-to-person spread.
- Breastfeeding during COVID-19:
- Breastfeeding is the best, most nurturing way of feeding your baby – something special you can do for your infant, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- If you are sick, wash your hands before each feeding and wear a face mask.
- For additional guidance on staying safe while pregnant or postpartum, visit:
- About the COVID-19 Vaccine - under Pregnant People
- Breastfeeding During the Current Health Crisis
- CDC: If You Are Pregnant, Breastfeeding, or Caring for Young Children
- March of Dimes: COVID-19: Things to Know if You're Pregnant (PDF)
- Pregnancy Program - Quit Partner
Learn more about free support to help pregnant and postpartum people quit smoking, vaping, or chewing commercial tobacco.
People with disabilities may have underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of COVID-19 and COVID-19-related complications or may have particular concerns. Visit:
COVID-19 can spread easily in homes with extended families and others who live together and interact every day. Follow the recommendations below to protect the people you live with, especially those who are most at risk.Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Multifamily and Multigenerational Households (PDF)
- Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Multifamily and Multigenerational Households in Amharic (PDF)
- Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Multifamily and Multigenerational Households in Arabic (PDF)
- Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Multifamily and Multigenerational Households in Chinese (PDF)
- Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Multifamily and Multigenerational Households in Hmong (PDF)
- Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Multifamily and Multigenerational Households in Karen (PDF)
- Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Multifamily and Multigenerational Households in Lao (PDF)
- Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Multifamily and Multigenerational Households in Oromo (PDF)
- Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Multifamily and Multigenerational Households in Russian (PDF)
- Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Multifamily and Multigenerational Households in Somali (PDF)
- Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Multifamily and Multigenerational Households in Spanish (PDF)
- Preventing Spread of COVID-19 in Multifamily and Multigenerational Households in Vietnamese (PDF)
Prepare at home
- Create a household plan of action.
- It is important to keep regular check-ups to manage your health. Do not delay care for medical emergencies.
- Consider getting a two-week supply of prescription and over the counter medications, food, and other essentials to keep at home. Know how to get food delivered if possible.
- Plan how to communicate from home with family, friends, and co-workers.
- Learn the emergency plans for the places that people in your house go to work and school.
Resources include supporting mental well-being during COVID-19. If someone you know is in crisis, use Crisis Text Line by texting MN to 741741.