How to celebrate Thanksgiving safely this year,
according to health experts
Turkey day isn’t canceled, but with all the efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, expect it to be different.
Thanksgiving is usually a time for friends and family to gather and celebrate together. But this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidelines for celebrating the holiday during the COVID-19 pandemic that’ll make it look very different from what we’re used to. The CDC’s considerations include avoiding travel, large gatherings and even drinking alcohol, since it can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors.
Recently, the CDC updated its guidance on holiday celebrations, recommending that people limit contact with those outside their home for 14 days before attending a celebration, as well as shortening the duration of festivities to reduce the spread of COVID-19. But that doesn’t mean our annual day of thanks has to be a bore — there are many ways to celebrate without putting yourself or others at risk.
The CDC’s guidelines for a safe celebration
One of the busiest travel holidays of the year, the long Thanksgiving weekend is one that many people traditionally head home for, but this year the experts say it’s best to avoid travel, if possible, to lower the risk for getting and transmitting the virus. “Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others,” noted the CDC.
Here’s how the CDC assesses the risk level for Thanksgiving activities:
- A small dinner with the people in your household
- A virtual dinner with family and friends
- Preparing food for family and neighbors (especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 who are social distancing), and delivering it to them without person-to-person contact
- Shopping online rather than in person on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
- Watching sports events, parades and movies at home
Moderate Risk Activities:
- A small outdoor dinner with family and friends who live in your community
- Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people are taking COVID-19 safety precautions like using hand sanitizer, wearing masks and maintaining social distance
- Small outdoor sports events with safety precautions in place