Holiday tips to minimise your Covid-19 risk

On 9 December health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize announced that South Africa is experiencing its ‘second wave’ of coronavirus infections, and that this is no longer confined to select ‘hotspot’ areas. It is expected that cases will rise even further with families coming together for the festive season. Please be extra careful to safeguard your own health, and also to help avoid overwhelming healthcare facilities.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been stressful and isolating for many people. Gatherings during the upcoming holidays can be an opportunity to reconnect with family and friends. This holiday season, consider how your holiday plans can be modified to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep your friends, families, and communities healthy and safe.

Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household (who are consistently taking measures to reduce the spread of Covid-19) poses the lowest risk for spread. In-person gatherings that bring together family members or friends from different households, pose varying levels of risk.

Family and friends should consider the number of Covid-19 cases in their community and in the community where they plan to celebrate when deciding whether to host or attend a gathering. Information on the number of cases in an area can often be found on the government health department website.

Limit the number of attendees as much as possible, to allow people from different households to always remain at least one and a half metres apart. Guests should avoid direct contact, including handshakes and hugs, with others who are not from their household.

To limit exposure to Covid-19 when attending a gathering, every person must:

  • wear a face mask;
  • adhere to all health protocols; and
  • maintain a distance of at least one and a half metres from each other.

Do not host or participate in any in-person gatherings if you or anyone in your household:

  • have symptoms of Covid-19;
  • are waiting for Covid-19 viral test results;
  • may have been exposed to someone with Covid-19 in the last 14 days; and
  • are at increased risk of severe illness from Covid-19


Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading Covid-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from Covid-19.

You can get Covid-19 during your travels. You may feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can still spread Covid-19 to others. You and your travel companions may spread Covid-19 to other people, including your family, friends, and community for 14 days after you were exposed to the virus.

Don’t travel if you are sick or if you have been around someone with Covid-19 in the past 14 days. Don’t travel with someone who is sick.

If you do decide to travel, take steps to protect yourself and others from Covid-19:

  • Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when in public settings, including on public transport and in transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
  • Avoid close contact by staying at least 1.5m from anyone who is not from your household.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitiser (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.