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Zoom to lift 40-minute time limits over Christmas and New Year's Eve

The company announced it will remove the limit for two time periods over the holidays.

Zoom says it will lift 40-minute time restrictions for all free accounts during Christmas, New Year and Kwanza.

The company announced in a blog post that the time restrictions will be lifted between 10 a.m. ET Wednesday, Dec. 23 and 6 a.m. ET Saturday, Dec. 26 for Christmas. Another period of lifted time limits are planned from 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Dec. 30 to 6 a.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 2. Zoom says the limits will be automatically lifted. 

Zoom allowed similar access for Thanksgiving and the final day of Hanukkah. 

Normally, free Zoom meetings are capped at 40 minutes before it needs to be restarted. To exceed a 40-minute meeting time, normally one would have to buy a license starting at $149.90 for a year.

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Experts worry that Christmas and New Year’s will turn into super-spreader events because many Americans are letting down their guard — either out of pandemic fatigue or the hopeful news that vaccines are starting to be distributed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says “postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.” People who insist on travel should consider getting tested for the virus before and after their trip and to limit non-essential activities for seven days after travel with a negative test result and 10 days if they don’t get tested.

The United States has more than 17 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

As of Monday, the U.S. had more than 317,000 deaths from the virus. Worldwide, there are more than 77 million confirmed cases with more than 1.6 million deaths.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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