On November 11, the CDC published updated recommendations for the holidays that are meant to “supplement – not replace” local guidance on travel and gatherings.

  • Celebrating with members of your own household that follow current guidelines (and virtually with those outside your household) poses the lowest risk.
  • Having individuals from outside your household may warrant additional precautions, depending on the risks they bring with them (such as local community heightened exposure, an individual not following guidelines, etc.).  Even students returning home from college may bring additional risk to the household.  On November 19, they bolstered their emphasis on how risky it can be for households to mix during the holidays.
  • CDC then provided a long list of considerations and recommendations for various types of gatherings you might participate in, concluding with a table of low, medium, and high risk activities.

On November 13, CDC explained why they stopped airport screening efforts in September.  “Symptom-based screening programs are ineffective because of the nonspecific clinical presentation of COVID-19 and asymptomatic cases. Reducing COVID-19 importation has transitioned to enhancing communication with travelers to promote recommended preventive measures, strengthening response capacity at ports of entry, and encouraging predeparture and postarrival testing.”

The CDC then went into a discussion that bears some elements worthy of consideration by employers.  Covid-19 “presents a formidable control challenge because asymptomatic (i.e., never symptomatic) and presymptomatic (i.e., contagious infections before symptom onset) infections can result in substantial transmission, which was unknown early in the pandemic. The proxy for infectiousness, viral shedding in the upper respiratory tract, is greatest early in the course of infection, before prominent symptoms are apparent, suggesting peak infectiousness at or before symptom onset.”  This is aligned with EEOC guidance that while employers can require temperatures below 100.4 before reporting to work, they “should be aware that some people with COVID-19 do not have a fever.”

CDC has shifted their advice on travel to “mask use, hand hygiene, self-monitoring for symptoms, and social distancing during travel and after arrival” along with advice to follow quarantine orders of the jurisdiction you’re traveling to, noting if the jurisdiction permits it, a test upon arrival “could allow for shortening of posttravel self-quarantine periods.”


IMA will continue to monitor regulator guidance and offer meaningful, practical, timely information.

This material should not be considered as a substitute for legal, tax and/or actuarial advice. Contact the appropriate professional counsel for such matters. These materials are not exhaustive and are subject to possible changes in applicable laws, rules, and regulations and their interpretations.

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