‘Don’t invite COVID for Thanksgiving dinner’: Houstonians urged to forgo holiday travel, gatherings as cases increase

City’s annual Thanksgiving parade canceled

HOUSTON – With a little more than a week to go until Thanksgiving, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner urged people Monday to forgo their usual travel and gatherings to mark the holiday.

Turner said Houston had the positivity rate at a manageable 5% five weeks ago, but that number had increased to 7.9% by Monday. Turner said Houston’s total number of COVID-19 cases had climbed to 90,239 and the city’s total number of coronavirus-related deaths was at 1,398.

“We are moving in the wrong direction,” Turner said.

Turner said it is simply not safe to travel or gather with people outside of your immediate household.

“This virus thrives on gatherings,” Turner said.

Dr. David Callender, president and CEO of Memorial Hermann Hospital, said if people insist on having gatherings, they should limit the number to 10 and have the celebration outdoors as much as possible. He also people should wear masks, keep their distance and wash their hands.

Dr. David Persse, Houston’s chief medical officer, also encouraged people to get tested, noting that there is abundant testing capacity in the city.

RELATED: Find a COVID-19 testing site

Turner recommended people isolate themselves for two weeks before and two weeks after their gatherings in order to ensure they were not exposed to coronavirus.

Turner emphasized the importance of masks and reminded people that mask-wearing is mandatory in Houston. He said that while police prefer to give people warnings, violators could face a $250 fine.

“Don’t invite COVID for Thanksgiving dinner,” Turner said.

Turner said he wants Houstonians to do their part to help keep the pandemic at a manageable rate in the city.

No Thanksgiving parade in Houston this year

Turner said the city’s normal Thanksgiving parade will not happen this year. Instead, the city is partnering with H-E-B for a food giveaway for those in need. He said the event will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at NRG Stadium until the food is gone. He said those in need can get everything that need to prepare their Thanksgiving meal.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner provides an update on the coronavirus pandemic in Houston.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner provides an update on the coronavirus pandemic in Houston.

About the Author:

Aaron Barker has been a senior digital editor at KPRC 2 since 2016. As a meteorologist, he specializes in stories about the weather. He has covered Hurricane Harvey, the Astros first World Series win, the Santa Fe High School shooting, the ITC fire and Tropical Storm Imelda.