Traditional Thanksgiving gatherings with family and friends can increase the cances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC says the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is with people in your household. If you do plan to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, take steps to make your celebration safer.

Wear a mask with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19. Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin. Make sure the mask fits snugly against the sides of your face. Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose and mouth.

Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you. Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread COVID-19 or flu. Keeping your distance is especially important for those at higher risk of getting very sick.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Keep hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol with you and use it when unable to wash your hands.

In addition to following the above precautions, take these additional steps when attending a gathering.

• Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.

• Safely store your mask while eating and drinking.

• Avoid going in and out of areas where food is being prepared or handled.

• Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates and utensils.

• If having guests to your home, be sure that people follow steps to make

Thanksgiving safer. Other precautions you can take:

• Have a small outdoor meal with family and friends who live in your community.

• Limit the number of guests.

• Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.

• If celebrating indoors, make sure to open windows.

• Limit the number of people in food preparation areas.

• Have guests bring their own food and drink.

• If sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils.

Alternatives to traditional Thanksgiving activities include hosting a virtual Thanksgiving meal with friends and family who don’t live with you or having people share recipes and show their turkey, dressing or other dishes they prepared. You also could safely prepare traditional dishes and deliver them to family and neighbors in a way that does not involve contact with others (for example, leave them on the porch).

Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19, according to the CDC. If you do travel, check travel restrictions and get your flu shot before you go. In addition to the above precautions, bring extra supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer.