The CDC is urging Americans not to congregate with people outside their immediate household. Does that mean Thanksgiving is canceled? In a word, no. All this means is we should hold off on the traditional family gatherings for this one single year and find other ways of celebrating. These simple one-time changes to how we celebrate could save thousands of lives.
But what if you’re not the one calling the shots about who comes over to your house or if your family travels? There are still things you can do to make the holiday safer for you and your family.
If your household is hosting:
- You can help your parents or whoever is hosting the dinner by volunteering to contact every one and remind them to stay home if they are feeling sick. If your family is planning to gather for another holiday in December, you can help out by asking guests to avoid contact with people outside of their households for 14 days before the gathering.
- Encourage social distancing by helping to arrange the furniture. Create small clusters of chairs for people in the same household to sit together, spacing them six feet from other clusters of chairs for other households.
- Help set the table: Instead of one long table everyone is gathered around, try setting up multiple smaller tables where each household sits spaced apart from each other.
- Ask if you can have the event outdoors. If this is not possible, make sure the room or space is well-ventilated by opening windows and doors.
- Unless you’re eating, everyone should wear their masks. Make signs to place on the table or in areas where people gather as a visual reminder.
- Limit the number of people handling or serving food by asking guests to stay seated while only members of your household help out in the kitchen.
- Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates, utensils, and wear disposable gloves while handling food.
If you’re traveling to someone else’s gathering:
- Be careful while traveling this holiday season. Airports, bus stations, train stations, public transport, gas stations, and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces. Spend as little time as possible in these spaces and when you have to be there wear your mask, stand six feet away from others, avoid touching your face, and wash your hands or use sanitizer after leaving.
- Consider bringing your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils to an event.
- Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen.
- Wash your hands often and wear your mask whenever you aren’t eating.
- Spend as much time outside as possible. If indoors, choose a seat separated from people other than your household members, ideally near an open window or door.
Information on the number of cases in your area can often be found on the local health department website. The only thing we should be spreading this season is holiday cheer! Get more information by visiting the World Health Organization and the CDC website.