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The Safest Way To Celebrate Thanksgiving This Year With Coronavirus Cases On The Rise

In spite of the parties in private homes limitation, the CDC said there are steps one can take to make a gathering safer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its guidelines for how best to celebrate the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Warning us that while traditional Thanksgiving gatherings with family and friends are fun but can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu. Follow these tips to make your Thanksgiving holiday safer.

The new recommendation comes during a worsening around the country of the new coronavirus pandemic combined with the information that small household gatherings are “an important contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases,” the CDC said.

Where the CDC previously ranked various holiday-related activities by level of risk, the agency now is saying the best way to celebrate the national holiday is to do so with people in your household.

The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate with people in your household. If you do plan to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, take steps to make your celebration safer.

Considerations for Small Gatherings of Family and Friends

Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household (who are consistently taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19) poses the lowest risk for spread. Your household is anyone who currently lives and shares common spaces in your housing unit (such as your house or apartment). This can include family members, as well as roommates or people who are unrelated to you. People who do not currently live in your housing unit, such as college students who are returning home from school for the holidays, should be considered part of different households. In-person gatherings that bring together family members or friends from different households, including college students returning home, pose varying levels of risk.

Make your celebration safer. In addition to following the steps that everyone can take to make Thanksgiving safer, take these additional steps while attending a Thanksgiving gathering.

  • Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.
  • Wear a mask, and safely store your mask while eating and drinking.
  • Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen.
  • Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates, and utensils.

Hosting a Thanksgiving dinner is more complicated, and Wednesday during a news conference, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that parties in private homes in New York will be limited to 10 people. The exception would be, he said, if there are 10 or more people living in your home.

In spite of the parties in private homes limitation, the CDC said there are steps one can take to make a gathering safer.

Hosting a Thanksgiving Gathering

If having guests to your home, be sure that people follow the steps that everyone can take to make Thanksgiving safer. Other steps you can take include:

  • Have a small outdoor meal with family and friends who live in your community.
  • Limit the number of guests.
  • Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
  • If celebrating indoors, make sure to open windows.
  • Limit the number of people in food preparation areas.
  • Have guests bring their own food and drink.
  • If sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils.

Thanksgiving Travel

Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.

illustration of two people in an airport terminal wearing masks and maintaining six-feet distance

If you do travel

  • Check travel restrictions before you go.
  • Get your flu shot before you travel.
  • Always wear a mask in public settings and on public transportation.
  • Stay at least 6 feet apart from anyone who is not in your household.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Bring extra supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer.

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. Use information from the following webpages to decide whether to travel during the holidays:

Tips for staying overnight or hosting overnight guests

  • Visitors should launder clothing and mask, and stow luggage away from common areas upon arrival.
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially upon arrival.
  • Wear masks while inside the house. Masks may be removed for eating, drinking, and sleeping, but individuals from different households should stay at least 6 feet away from each other at all times.
  • Improve ventilation by opening windows and doors or by placing central air and heating on continuous circulation.
  • Spend time together outdoors. Take a walk or sit outdoors at least 6 feet apart for interpersonal interactions.
  • Avoid singing or shouting, especially indoors.
  • Treat pets as you would other human family members – do not let pets interact with people outside the household.
  • Monitor hosts and guests for symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
  • Hosts and guests should have a plan for what to do if someone becomes sick.

Consider Other Thanksgiving Activities

Host a virtual Thanksgiving meal with friends and family who don’t live with you

  • Schedule a time to share a meal together virtually.
  • Have people share recipes and show their turkey, dressing, or other dishes they prepared.

Watch television and play games with people in your household

  • Watch Thanksgiving Day parades, sports, and movies at home.
  • Find a fun game to play.

Shopping

  • Shop online sales the day after Thanksgiving and days leading up to the winter holidays.
  • Use contactless services for purchased items, like curbside pick-up.
  • Shop in open air markets staying 6 feet away from others.

Other Activities

  • Safely prepare traditional dishes and deliver them to family and neighbors in a way that does not involve contact with others (for example, leave them on the porch).
  • Participate in a gratitude activity, like writing down things you are grateful for and sharing with your friends and family.

The following people should not attend in-person holiday gatherings

People with or exposed to COVID-19
Do not host or participate in any in-person gatherings if you or anyone in your household

Do not host or attend gatherings with anyone who has COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days.

People at increased risk for severe illness
If you are an older adult or person with certain medical conditions who is at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, or live or work with someone at increased risk of severe illness, you should avoid in-person gatherings with people who do not live in your household.

Whatever you decide to do, one thing is for sure, Thanksgiving won’t be the same this year while we are still navigating these uncharted water. Black Westchester shares the above CDC recommendations and guidelines

The bottom-line for those planning a large gathering on Thanksgiving: Don’t do it. Public health officials say Thanksgiving is the most worrisome day during the holidays because it is the day most associated with the highest risk activity: Large groups of extended family getting together indoors for hours and hours, sharing food, shouting, laughing, hugging.

Some loved ones may be uncomfortable celebrating the holidays in any way this year, and we ask that you respect their wishes and concerns. Everyone is navigating the COVID-19 pandemic to the best of their abilities and has different comfort levels about what is safe to do.

Whatever you do, no matter how tired you are of COVID-19, DO NOT let your guard down. THE FIGHT IS FAR FROM OVER!!!

COVID-19 has so far infected more than 7.1 million Americans and killed more than 204,700 people nationwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Everyone Can Make Thanksgiving Safer

Wear a mask

  • Wear a mask with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
  • Make sure the mask fits snugly against the sides of your face.

Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you

illustration of a person and child wearing masks standing six feet apart from a young woman wearing a mask

Wash your hands

illustration of a person wearing a mask washing their hands
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Keep hand sanitizer with you and use it when you are unable to wash your hands.
  • Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Remember the basics and have a happy, healthy, blessed and most importantly this year a SAFE holiday season.

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About AJ Woodson (2369 Articles)
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company. AJ is a Father, Brother, Author, Writer, Journalism Fellow, Rapper, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian and A Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.
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