With COVID-19 cases spiking in almost every state in the US many people are preparing for a unique holiday season.
Almost every aspect of a traditional holiday season will be impacted this year by the pandemic so it's important to be aware of the restrictions and options for New Jersey residents when it comes to things like travel, shopping, holiday parties and more.
The [**CDC's recommendation**](https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html) is to try and limit travel during the holiday season and celebrate with your family at home.
If you are planning on traveling this holiday season the CDC recommends that you wear a mask at all times when in public, maintain social distancing and avoid travel if you or anyone you've been in contact with is exhibiting symptoms.
For more information on CDC recommendations for traveling during the pandemic, you can visit their [**website**](https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html).
If you're traveling back to New Jersey after visiting friends or family, keep in mind the New Jersey travel advisory list. This is a list of states that you would need to quarantine for 14 days after visiting.
As of November 17, there are 46 states and U.S. jurisdictions on the travel advisory list. The full list can be found [**here**](https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/travel-and-transportation/which-states-are-on-the-travel-advisory-list-are-there-travel-restrictions-to-or-from-new-jersey), check back before and after traveling because this list is constantly changing to reflect the latest numbers.
Despite the pandemic, many stores are still open for in-person shopping with restrictions.
In New Jersey, [**mall stores and other retail stores are permitted to be open**](https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/reopening-guidance-and-restrictions/can-retail-stores-and-malls-reopen-what-are-the-social-distancing-requirements-at-retail-businesses-for-customers-employees-and-business-owners) as of November 17.
Mall and other stores can be open with 50% capacity with all customers and employees required to wear a mask all time while on the premises.
A full list of restrictions for malls, stores and other retail businesses can be found on the [**New Jersey COVID-19 Information Hub**](https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/reopening-guidance-and-restrictions/can-retail-stores-and-malls-reopen-what-are-the-social-distancing-requirements-at-retail-businesses-for-customers-employees-and-business-owners).
Additionally, many people are choosing to forego in-person shopping this holiday season. Wallet Hub found that [**77% of the people that they surveyed**](https://wallethub.com/credit-cards/#survey) were planning on doing more of their holiday shopping online this year. They also found that "nearly 1 in 3 people are foregoing holiday gifts this year due to COVID-19."
Right now both [**New Jersey and the CDC are recommending**](https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/slowing-the-spread/how-can-i-safely-host-or-attend-thanksgiving-or-other-holiday-celebrations) that all holiday parties and gatherings be held with only people from in your household. However, if you do plan on having a larger gathering this holiday season, keep in mind some of these restrictions and recommendations.
[**As of November 17**](https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/reopening-guidance-and-restrictions/how-can-people-safely-get-together-what-are-the-limits-for-indoor-and-outdoor-gatherings), the limit for indoor gatherings is 10 people and the limit for outdoor is 150, with some exceptions.
They recommend that at any kind of gathering that people who are not from the same household social distance and that everyone in attendance wears a face mask whenever possible.
New Jersey also recommends asking your guest to try and limit contact with others for 14 days prior to the gathering. Also, require anyone who is experiencing symptoms or was in contact with anyone experiencing symptoms to not attend the gathering.
For a full list of holiday gathering recommendations please visit the [**New Jersey COVID-19 Information Hub**](https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/slowing-the-spread/how-can-i-safely-host-or-attend-thanksgiving-or-other-holiday-celebrations).
This holiday season is shaping up to be one unlike any other and despite the unusual circumstances and restrictions, you can still enjoy your holidays this year.
If you have any questions on restrictions and guidelines you can visit the [**CDC website**](https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html) for general recommendations and the [**New Jersey COVID-19 Information Hub**](https://covid19.nj.gov/) for state-specific guidelines and restrictions.
Have a safe and happy holiday season!