The CDC Releases Guidelines for Celebrating Thanksgiving Safely Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic
Consider hosting a smaller celebration this year.
Thanksgiving will be here in less than two months, and though your family likely looks forward to the annual tradition of gathering with close family and friends, enjoying delicious food, and sharing what you're thankful for, it's important to consider the safest ways to celebrate in light of the coronavirus pandemic. As with daily life, the ongoing global health crisis will also shape how we celebrate the upcoming holiday season. So, what will Thanksgiving look like in light of quarantine rules and social distancing guidelines? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has just released its recommendations for safely celebrating Thanksgiving this year, the ideal gathering will be quite small.
First and foremost, the CDC says that individuals should reconsider traveling long distances to spend the holiday with loved ones. "Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. If you must travel, be informed of the risks involved," their website reads. They've further separated ways to celebrate the holiday into low-, moderate-, and high-risk activities. Low-risk activities include hosting a small dinner with only the people who live in your household and having a virtual dinner with loved ones who you can't spend the day with in person.
High-risk activities include going shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving; participating or being a spectator at a crowded race; attending crowded parades; and attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household. While both the CDC and retail stores have not specifically outlined plans for Black Friday shopping, the organization recommends that individuals should shop online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving and on Cyber Monday.
During the holiday season, many ordinary people try to step up to help out those in need. While there would normally be thousands of food drives across the country, the CDC recommends that families prepare traditional recipes for anyone in their family or neighborhood who is at higher risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19, and that they then deliver these meals in a contact-free manner.
Thanksgiving isn't just about turkey and mashed potatoes. All across the country, millions of families attend local football games, often between rival high schools. The CDC considers this to be a moderate risk activity and that visitors follow proper safety precautions such as wearing a face mask, practicing social distancing, and sanitizing frequently. Throughout the fall season, the CDC also recommends that if you visit pumpkin patches or orchards, use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wear face masks, and maintain social distancing.
So far, there have been over seven million total cases of coronavirus in the United States and more than 200,000 deaths.