6 Tips For a COVID-Safe Thanksgiving
As Thanksgiving Day approaches, this is normally a time of year when people start planning family get-togethers and lavish spreads of traditional Thanksgiving foods, such as turkey, ham, dressing, and pumpkin pie. In 2020, however, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to alter their plans to protect everybody’s health and safety.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus doesn’t care that it’s Thanksgiving and cases are rising throughout the U.S., so the risk is very real. That said, it’s understandable that people need their traditions, especially those connected to spending time with family, to stay sane. So, it’s important to take a few precautions and make you’re your family enjoys Thanksgiving safely.
That’s why we’ve put together these six steps you can take to stay safe:
Avoid holiday crowds
The holidays in general, and Thanksgiving in particular, usually involve events that draw quite a few people. These can range from twenty or thirty family members at a Thanksgiving dinner to thousands of people going to football games and parades, passing through airports, and, of course, shopping at local malls.
In these types of crowds, it’s impossible to maintain social distancing – staying six feet or more away from people who don’t live with you – which, along with wearing a mask, is known to be one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from the coronavirus.
Keep family gatherings small
One of the most cherished traditions on Thanksgiving Day is to take the family to visit relatives, driving from house to house and eating your fill at every stop. This Thanksgiving, however, that’s exactly the type of activity we should try to avoid. Ideally, it’s best to keep Thanksgiving dinner to fewer than 10 people, preferably all of whom live in the same house.
Celebrate outdoors (weather permitting)
One way to help maintain social distancing is to take the party outside. Because the virus is mostly transmitted after being exhaled by someone who is infected and then inhaled by people nearby, outdoor spaces are safer because they don’t keep the airborne virus contained where there are people. On the other hand, indoor spaces, especially those without good ventilation, allow the droplets and aerosols that contain the virus to linger in the air longer.
Consider a virtual gathering
More and more, people are getting used to meeting virtually, both in their personal lives and at work. This technology also offers a way to spend time with relatives while staying safe from the pandemic. If you’re comfortable with Zoom, for example, simply set up your laptop or tablet with the camera showing the whole room, or even the dinner table, and carry on as you normally would. Also, depending on which device you use, it may be possible to broadcast the image over your large-screen TV.
Avoid buffet-style dining
If you should decide to have a few people over for Thanksgiving dinner, it’s strongly recommended that you not serve the food in a buffet. A buffet encourages everybody to line up and stand right next to each other while waiting for their turn. Instead, while it may take a little longer, this would be a good time to have one or two people prepare each plate and serve your guests. And if you simply can’t avoid the buffet, at least spread it out so that serving stations are six feet away from each other.
Clearly, going to a crowded mall or any large retailer on Black Friday exposes you to a great risk of coming in contact with coronavirus. Even if everyone is wearing masks, there are simply too many people crammed into too small of a space to not be right on top of each other. The solution, which millions of people are now very comfortable with, is online shopping. Many of the major online retailers even have Black Friday specials you can take advantage of. And most importantly, you avoid contact with large crowds.