MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Some Easter gatherings will take place across the Lowcountry this weekend. With two million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered to South Carolinians already, doctors say things are getting safer.
More than 700,000 South Carolinians are fully vaccinated according to the Department of Health and Environmental Control.
The state’s vaccination plan has cleared the way for some families to celebrate Easter weekend in person, and for many families across the state, this is the first holiday they’ll have in-person – possibly in a year.
“It is okay to go ahead and have a small gathering,” said Dr. Valerie Scott of Roper St. Francis.
And while some gatherings are safe, there’s a catch. Doctors say it’s important to make sure everyone has been vaccinated before making plans.
Dr. Scott says if everyone you plan to celebrate with has already been vaccinated, you don’t have to wear a mask or practice social distancing.
Doctors say it’s important to do some homework on the gathering before heading out the door.
“Who are you inviting and how many people are going to be there,” says Dr. Scott. “Is it going to be indoors or is it going to be outside?”
Health experts recommend one person serving the food for those in attendance. They also say for those who have yet to be vaccinated, home will be the safest spot to celebrate this Easter.
“It would be best not to get together in a group,” says Dr. Scott. “It’s best to stay in your family pod that you’ve been doing for the last year.”
State health officials report 17% of South Carolina’s population is fully vaccinated. Dr. Michael Schmidt, a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina says people who have been vaccinated shouldn’t be worried to celebrate at someone else’s house.
“If you do travel to your relatives who haven’t been with you, what you need to do to protect them is to continue to monitor yourself for any symptoms,” says Dr. Schmidt.
An urge for many to gather around the table or search for Easter eggs this holiday, doctors say if everyone you’re celebrating with has been vaccinated you can gather with caution.
But if not everyone has received their dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Scott says you may want to hold off a little longer on gathering with your family and friends.
“If there are people who aren’t vaccinated or folks you don’t know, you may want to skip it just one more year,” says Dr. Scott.
For people hoping to travel this holiday weekend or for Spring Break, the Center for Disease Control says those who are fully vaccinated should be safe without quarantining. The agency recommends continued mask-wearing and social distancing in public settings for now.