As temperatures drop below 100 degrees, fall and winter holidays are on the mind. However, with COVID-19 still rearing its head, the question remains: is it safe to gather for the holidays this year?
Planning the event
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a statement that Yom Kippur, Halloween, Día de Los Muertos, Navratri, Diwali and Thanksgiving "will likely need to be different this fall to prevent the spread of the virus." The CDC stated considerations on its website are meant to supplement, not replace, local laws.
According to the CDC, there are a variety of factors that come into play when planning for a holiday event, such as location and duration of the event, number of guests, where the guests are coming from and behaviors of guests prior to and during the event.
It is recommended to host events in an open, well-ventilated area, preferably outdoors. Guests must be limited to 10 people in Austin and masks must be worn anytime people are indoors, though it is recommended to wear them anytime you are in contact with people.
If you have been diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19, you should not participate in any in-person events or gatherings, per the CDC.
Traditional Halloween activities like trick-or-treating, attending indoor costume parties and haunted houses, where people are typically crowded and screaming, are considered "high risk" activities, per the CDC. However, there are still safe ways to enjoy spooky season.
To enjoy a low-risk Halloween, the CDC recommends virtual costume party events, carving pumpkins with family or a small group of friends, or a Halloween movie marathon with the people you live with.
If you feel safe enough to do so, visiting an outdoor costume party or haunted house is considered "moderate risk" as long as social distancing and mask guidelines are enforced.
Dìa de los Muertos
Celebrating the Day of the Dead this year may look a bit different, but there are plenty of safe ways to celebrate your loved ones on Nov. 1.
For low-risk activities, the CDC recommends creating an altar for your deceased loved ones in your home, playing music they enjoyed and celebrating the way you normally would but from home.
If you can't imagine celebrating without people around you, it is safest to be around others in an outdoor space with a limited number of people. The CDC recommends a small, socially-distanced parade outdoors, visiting gravesites or hosting a small dinner for close friends and family.
To avoid the most risk, it is best to refrain from shopping on Thanksgiving or Black Friday (hey, there's always Cyber Monday). The same goes for parades or sporting events—they are best to avoid.
If you normally celebrate Thanksgiving dinner with just immediate family members, feel free to continue as planned. It is also safe to hold a virtual Thanksgiving or to carefully celebrate with a small number of people you feel safe and acquainted with.
After the celebration
In order to minimize the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible, it is important to stay home as much as possible for two weeks; limit interactions with people, especially those who are of increased risk; and consider getting tested for the virus.
Symptoms can appear within two days to two weeks of coming into contact with the virus.
However you choose to celebrate, enjoy a safe, thoughtful and happy holiday season.
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So you want to buy a house?
To anyone trying to get on the "housing ladder," it's been a discouraging couple of years as prices skyrocketed in a market crowded with buyers bidding against each other for just about any available home.
Things may be calming down, with the Austin Board of REALTORS reporting fewer sales and more available homes this summer.
Mortgage rates have more than doubled in the last year, from around 3% to well over 6% on a 30-year fixed rate loan, getting even more of a bump this week after the Federal Reserve raised bank rates on Wednesday.
So how affordable are homes right now? That, of course, depends on what you want and how much you're able or willing to pay, but here are some rough estimates of what a typical buyer would pay to buy a $650,000 home, which would be considered "mid-price" in today's market.
Mortgage banker Chris Holland (NMLS 211033) of Austin's Sente Mortgage ran some numbers for Austonia to illustrate a typical purchase.
Holland says that while the 30-year fixed rate mortgage is often mentioned in the media, the most popular loan that he's seeing now is a 7/1 adjustable rate mortgage, which has a fixed rate for 7 years and then adjusts every year based on market rates, with a limit on how much it can increase each year. The interest is amortized over a 30-year period. Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) offer lower rates than fixed rate loans.
Here are the numbers, which are examples. In practice, exact numbers vary with a buyer's credit rating and overall financial situation, and with the rate, which can move up or down at any time.
- $650,000 home purchase price
- 7/1 ARM at 5.875%
- 5% down payment, equals $32,500
- 95% financed, equals $617,500
- $4,990 payment, including principle and interest (P&I), insurance, and property tax
- Typically, a borrower's debt to income ratio needs to be at or below 45%. So for this mortgage, a borrower, or borrowers, would need income of roughly $11,100/month, or $133,200/year. That number could be higher, depending on the buyer's outstanding credit balances on things like credit cards and car loans.
Holland says he's had a lot of clients approved for loans who were house hunting but have put that on hold, hoping prices come down.
Camp Fimfo Waco, a brand new camping resort, is kicking off football and fall camping season in style! With top-notch amenities, premium accommodations, and 10 weekends of fall fun, there’s no better place to have a fall camping getaway, especially if you’re a Baylor football fan!
Fall promises to be a one-of-a-kind camping experience. From Sept. 16 to Nov. 24, weekends will be packed with fall-themed activities, including special Halloween weekends in October. Campers can enjoy activities like fall crafts, campground trick-or-treating, costume contests, site decorating, outdoor movie nights, and more!
Packages and Ways to Stay
Camp Fimfo Waco
Located just 5 miles from McLane Stadium, Camp Fimfo Waco is the perfect place to stay during home game weekends. Skip the stuffy hotel room and embrace the great outdoors before cheering on the Baylor Bears! Campers can purchase a Baylor Tailgating Package that includes a pre-game meal from Executive Chef Sean Kelley and transportation to and from the game! Chef Kelley will also be cooking up delicious, elevated tailgating meals near the stadium so make sure to check out The Plaid Plate food truck before the game.
Stay in style and comfort, no matter your camping preference! At Camp Fimfo Waco, there are multiple ways to stay. Red Carpet RV sites come with a concrete pad and patio, full hook-ups, cable hook-up, a charcoal grill, fire ring and fire pit. Back-in or pull-thru options are available, as well as coveted spots tucked along the Bosque River!
Don’t have an RV? Not a problem, Camp Fimfo Waco has cabins too! Book a Riverview Firewheel Cabin if you’re looking for an air-conditioned oasis for the whole family. Complete with a kitchen and private bathroom, this cabin can fit up to 10 people. Elevate your stay by adding on a golf cart or snag a private cabana by the pool for guaranteed shade. With wifi available throughout the park, you can stay connected during your stay!
Amenities and Activities
Camp Fimfo Waco
Camp Fimfo Waco features lots of amenities to fill your days with fun, whether you’re a kid or kid at heart. After challenging your friends to a game of pickleball, basketball, or mini golf, go for a dip in the resort-style, heated pool - open daily through October! Stay on the weekends through October to enjoy the interactive splash playground. With plenty of ways to burn off energy, like the jumping pillow or playground, you can be sure to end the day with a peaceful night around the campfire!
Right now, you can get the fourth night FREE when you book three nights with the promo code BONUS! Check out the Offers page for full details and more promo codes!