“Make your holiday as normal as possible”: RI Medical Director’s hopeful outlook for holiday season

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The holiday season is right around the corner and it comes at an integral point in the pandemic as the US borders re-open for the international travel once again.

ABC 6 News spoke to the Rhode Island Department of Health’s Medical Director about what to expect this holiday season and how families can begin to prepare.

Dr. Jim McDonald says it is safe to travel and gather with loved ones once again this year.

“Last year we had no vaccine and this year we do,” Dr. McDonald said. “This year, try to make it as normal as possible because there’s a lot of joy and value and part of our own health and healing from the trauma of the pandemic is getting together with loved ones once again.”

As families begin to make plans, Dr. McDonald says there are four things to keep in mind: vaccination, ventilation, flu shots, and testing.

“Don’t come to a gathering sick. If someone is sick, make sure you get tested,” Dr. McDonald said. “I think if you do those four things, you’ve done a lot to make your holiday as safe as possible.”

With those steps taken, he says you don’t need to worry about risks associated with traveling, in fact, he says traveling is safe and the US borders re-opening after 20 months signals a positive step forward.

“There are a lot of people who haven’t seen their loved ones in really a long time, in well over a year, so there’s a lot of reunification that’s occurring and that’s a wonderful thing. For people to travel internationally, they’ve got to be fully vaccinated.”

Those fully vaccinated or with negative tests can welcome back the big holiday traditions Rhode Islanders missed last year.

“We’re moving forward with the pandemic. We’ve earned a decent place and we’re heading in the right direction,” Dr. McDonald said. “We’re going to see larger events come back and there are no restrictions this year.”

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Providence, Rhode Island