Thanksgiving and COVID-19

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CBS News

The CDC recommends that families gather virtually this Thanksgiving to lower the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Avery Blackman, Entertainment Editor

With Thanksgiving being just two weeks away, the issue arises of how people can celebrate the holidays while reducing the potential spread of COVID-19 to keep their friends, family and communities safe. Fortunately, the CDC has released guidelines for how people can safely celebrate the holidays in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The primary recommendation and safest option is to spend Thanksgiving and other upcoming holidays only with family members within your household in-person, and virtually with extended family or friends. Differing community COVID-19 numbers, exposure during travel, location of the gathering (indoor vs. outdoor), number of attendees, mask wearing and adherence to social distancing are just a handful of factors that contribute to the risk of spreading the virus at in-person gatherings. Of course, it is up to individual families to decide whether or not they want to gather in person, but the CDC heavily advises against people who could have possibly been exposed to COVID-19, or are considered high risk for developing a severe illness from gathering with anyone outside of their household. 

Although it is disappointing to not be able to reunite with extended family members for Thanksgiving, there are still plenty of fun, safe ways to celebrate the holiday. 

Deliver food to nearby friends and neighbors: Not only will this allow you to prepare traditional family recipes (in their typical excessive quantities), but it is also an opportunity to brighten other families’ days. Just be sure to wash your hands before cooking, and deliver the food in a way that will limit contact with others.

Shop online for Black Friday: Even before the pandemic, more and more Americans were opting to shop online on Black Friday instead of going in-person shopping. This year, there will likely be a plethora of online deals to take advantage of when shopping from the safety of your own home.

Have a virtual family dinner: If you do not think that Thanksgiving would be complete without the painful and awkward family discussions over dinner, then why not keep the tradition going and have a family Zoom call? Although, now you can actually hang up on your relatives and end the conversation whenever you want—how convenient!

Have a cook-off: If you are looking for a way to fill up your Thanksgiving afternoon, have a cooking competition with the family members in your household. Choose a judge, set a time limit and let the spirit of competition ensure that your Thanksgiving feast is the best it has ever been.

Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: Thankfully, this beloved event is still being held in 2020, although there will be no live-audience in NYC. Nonetheless, there will be celebrity performers in attendance, as well as Broadway performers, so you may be able to convince yourself that the world is normal throughout the duration of this three-hour parade.