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Here’s how you can be safer about celebrating Thanksgiving, according to the CDC

Thanksgiving setting outside.
Thanksgiving setting outside. (Ekaterina Bolovtsova via Pexels.)

At this point in the global coronavirus pandemic, it’s safe to say, most people have heard of or are aware that wearing a mask and keeping 6 feet of distance from others is believed to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

With Thanksgiving around the corner, and the way this year has gone, spending time with family you haven’t seen so much sounds really nice right about now, doesn’t it?

People will make their own personal decisions on how they will spend Thanksgiving — staying hunkered down at home with immediate family, traveling for a family get-together or gathering with friends.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes that gatherings with family and friends are fun, but wants everyone to remember that such gatherings increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu. In fact, the center updated its guidelines Thursday to recommend against traveling for the holiday

“The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate with people in your household,” the CDC website says.

Should you consider traveling anyway, the CDC posed a list of important questions to ask yourself and your loved ones beforehand, to help you decide what’s best.

  • Are you, someone in your household, or someone you will be visiting at an increased risk for getting very sick from COVID-19?
  • Are cases high or increasing in your community or your destination? You can check CDC’s COVID Data Tracker for the latest number of cases.
  • Are hospitals in your community or your destination overwhelmed with patients who have COVID-19? To find out, check state and local public health department websites.
  • Does your home or destination have requirements or restrictions for travelers? Check state and local requirements before you travel.
  • During the 14 days before your travel, have you or those you are visiting had close contact with people they don’t live with?
  • Do your plans include traveling by bus, train, or air, which might make staying 6 feet apart difficult?
  • Are you traveling with people who don’t live with you?

The CDC says if the answer to any of the questions is yes, you should consider making other planes, like delaying travel or hosting a virtual gathering.

If you decide to continue on with attending or hosting any type of gathering, the CDC had previously listed the following recommendations:

  • Have the meal outside, if the climate will allow for it.
  • Limit the number of guests.
  • Set expectations ahead of time and let all your guests know what those are.
  • If celebrating inside, keep windows open.
  • Only let the necessary people in food preparation areas.
  • Have guests bring their own drinks and food.

We know some of the suggestions below may be easier than others, but nonetheless, it’s what the CDC recommends if you’ll be attending someone else’s gathering.

  • Stay at least 6 feet away from people who do not live with you.
  • Wash your hands, and keep hand sanitizer on you that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Take your own plates, utensils, drinks and food.
  • When you’re eating, store your mask safely.
  • Try not to go into areas where food is being prepared or handled.
  • Use single-use options, like condiment packets, and disposable items like utensils, plates and containers.

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