ST. LOUIS — As Thanksgiving approaches, St. Louis health officials are asking people to skip non-essential travel and avoid hosting or attending large gatherings.
City residents are currently under an order to limit gatherings to 10 people or fewer.
"We really need people to understand the importance of this," said acting health director Dr. Fred Echols during a briefing Friday. "This executive order went into effect because the transmission that we were seeing late October was occurring in small gathering small social gatherings across the City of St. Louis."
The city issued holiday gathering guidelines Friday, including:
- Stay home if you do not feel well or are at higher risk
- Wear a mask
- Encourage guests to bring their own food, drink or treats
- Always stay at least 6 feet away from people who do not live in your household
- Remember who came to the gathering
The city also issued guidance about holiday travel, urging those to delay nonessential travel. However, if those who choose to or must travel are urged to follow these guidelines:
- Consider traveling during non-peak hours
- Pack sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer
- Wear a mask when traveling with anyone outside of your immediate household
- Bring extra masks
- Avoid touching surfaces like kiosks, touchscreens, ticket machines, elevator buttons and benches
Watch briefing from St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and acting health department director Dr. Fred Echols in video player below:
Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control issued recommendations that people should avoid traveling and large family gatherings. Instead, the CDC recommended that people only celebrate with those who live in their households.
Friday morning, the St. Louis pandemic task force echoed the CDC's guidance regarding holiday plans. The head of the task force, Dr. Alex Garza, said hospitals are nearly full and there are currently 1,000 patients in area hospitals with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19.
Watch the task force briefing below: