Holiday Guidance

Winter Holidays & COVID-19

Winter Holidays during the COVID-19 pandemic will look and feel a little different this year.  Traditionally, this is a time when many families travel long distances to celebrate together.  Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.  State guidance on travel can be found here.  If people must travel, it is important to know of the risks involved. 

Staying home and avoiding travel is the best way to protect yourself and others.  Santa Barbara County Public Health would like to share information on how to take part in this holiday season in a manner that reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19. 

Holiday Travel Frequently Asked Questions

The Winter Holidays are a time when many families travel long distances to celebrate together.  Before you travel, consider the following guidance as travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.  

  • Anyone can get very ill from the virus that causes COVID-19, but older adults and people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness if they become infected with COVID-19.
  • Some destinations have requirements, such as requiring people to test prior to travel or to quarantine upon arrival. Check state, territorial, tribal and local public health websites for information before you travel. If you are traveling internationally, check the destination’s Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health or the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Country Information page for details about entry requirements and restrictions for arriving travelers.
  • The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department recommends that travelers stay home for 14 days when returning to Santa Barbara County after travel.

Hear From Our Local Experts Blog

The Holidays Will Look Different This Year

Personal Protection Measures.  Regardless of how you choose to celebrate the holidays it is important to keep the following in mind:

  1. Correctly wear a cloth face covering to prevent disease spread when outside your home and around others that are not part of your household.
  2. Avoid confined spaces – Actively stay away from indoor spaces that don’t allow for easy distancing of at least 6ft between you and others.
  3. Avoid close contact – Stay at least 6 feet away from all other people who are not part of your own household, especially while talking, eating and drinking.
  4. Remain outdoors as much as possible when socializing with people not in your household.
  5. Wash or sanitize your hands often.
  6. Clean frequently touched items regularly.
  7. If you are sick, or you have been in contact with someone who is sick with COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19 stay home, away from others, and get tested.


Know where to get reliable information.  Beware of scams, false news and hoaxes surrounding novel coronavirus. Accurate information, including announcements of new cases in Santa Barbara County, will always be distributed by the Public Health Department and available on the website at The website has more information on COVID-19 including FAQs, guidance and information shared from local experts

For additional information, please call 2-1-1 which is available 24 hours a day.

Celebrating the Holidays Safely

Holiday Travel During COVID-19
Holiday Gatherings During COVID-19