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SCHD encourages celebrating Hanukkah ‘together but apart’

Updated: Dec. 16, 2020 at 8:44 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - All of us at WMC Action News 5 wish you a Happy Hanukkah but the Memphis Shelby County Joint COVID-19 Task Force encourages you not to have a traditional gathering.

Officials fear holiday gatherings beyond members of your immediate household will spread COVID-19 in families.

So instead, the COVID-19 task force encourages us to be “together but apart,” suggesting that only those in your immediate household unite at your table improving the odds we’ll all gather again for the holidays in 2021.

“It’s hard but it’s worth it. And I think we should do our best to stay apart,” said task force member Rev. Keith Norman.

“Together but apart” serves as a COVID-19 catchphrase for Norman, Pastor of First Baptist Church on Broad, where the congregation’s services appear online only in the pandemic.

Norman, also an executive with Baptist Memorial Hospital, plans to connect with family in new and old-fashioned ways this holiday season.

“So it’s worth using technology, using cards again,” said Norman. “You know I’m going to write some of my family members.”

Norman serves on the Memphis-Shelby County Joint COVID-19 Task Force with leading health experts and city communications director, Ursula Madden.

The task force urges COVID-19 testing before visiting outside your home over the holidays.

”Testing is widely available in our community. You do not have to be symptomatic to get a test,” said Madden. “You can be asymptomatic and get a test. So even if you are feeling wonderful, before you do that visit, go in and get that test done.”

And after getting tested, task force members say it’s critical you use extreme caution between the time of your COVID-19 test and your holiday visit.

“Do not let your guard down just because you got a test,” said Norman. “Remain vigilant in that time if you plan to have contact.”

Both Norman and Madden recognize we’re all tired of COVID-19 but now is the time, they say, to up our defenses.

”Always remember no matter what you have done on this end, you don’t know what the people on the other end are doing. And that’s usually when it happens,” said Norman. “So be accountable for yourself. Wear that mask. And when there’s no ordinance: this goes outside of our county, when there’s no ordinance: create your own. I’m an ordinance of one!”

“We’re in the middle of it. We’re not at the end of it,” said Madden. “This is the middle. And so we need to keep doing those things that we’ve been practicing: wear the mask. It helps mitigate it. That 6 feet apart is so important. And that washing of the hands, good hygiene, so important.”

The task force reminds us of the Three Ws: watch your distance, wash your hands, wear your mask.

By doing so, you’re helping yourself and everyone around you enjoy a safer holiday season and increase the odds we’ll be here to enjoy the holidays with some semblance of normality next year!

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