Everyone hopes to spread the love on Thanksgiving and catch a great deal on Black Friday, but state health officials are offering advice on how not to spread or catch COVID-19 while doing so.

On Monday, Nov. 9, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) put out guidance for Thanksgiving celebrations and Black Friday sales in an attempt to make sure the holiday and shopping sprees don’t make the pandemic worse in North Carolina.

NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen suggested greatly scaling down traditional Thanksgiving get togethers.

“The best way to protect loved ones during Thanksgiving is to limit travel and gatherings with anyone who does not live in your household,” she said in a prepared statement. “If you do plan to get together, there are important steps you can take to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to your family and friends.”

Right now, North Carolina is seeing high numbers of COVID-19 cases across the state, and state health officials say it’s especially important for people at a higher risk of developing complications – such as those over 65 – to be extremely careful.

State officials also suggest more testing.

“If people do plan on traveling or gathering, they should consider having a screening COVID-19 test three to four days ahead of time,” NCDHHS states in a press release. “A screening test can help someone know if they have COVID-19 even if they do not have yet have symptoms. However, a screening test can miss some infections. Furthermore, a negative test only gives you information for that point in time.”

Community testing events and other testing sites are listed online at ncdhhs.gov/about-covid-19/testing/find-my-testing-place.

The standard advice everyone has heard for a half a year was also reiterated: Wear a mask; keep 6 feet distance from others and wash your hands all the time.

The release also states that anyone recently diagnosed with COVID-19 – or anyone who’s even been around a person with COVID-19 – should not host or participate in any in-person gatherings until they complete their quarantine period.

The state’s Black Friday shopping advice is no surprise: “It is strongly recommended individuals do not participate in any traditional Black Friday shopping where customers gather in large groups waiting for the store to open or are in crowded stores for extended times.”