Many of us haven’t seen our extended family since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ordinarily, Thanksgiving may present the ideal opportunity to visit with your parents, grandparents and other loved ones while sharing a communal meal. However, how safe is it to have a large family get-together during an out-of-control pandemic?
How to Have Safe Holiday Get-Togethers During a Pandemic
Currently, COVID-19 cases are spiking nationwide. Experts caution that this fall and winter could be the most dangerous time for the spread of the pandemic, as colder weather and shorter days force people to stay inside more. You might need to put your tradition of holding a large, multigenerational Thanksgiving dinner on hold in 2020, in hopes of keeping all your loved ones healthy. However, if you have your heart set on a holiday get-together, here are our tips for doing so safely.
1. Stay Closer to Home
Despite the airline industry’s efforts to reassure the public of the safety of air travel, data suggests packing into busy airports and crowded flights – where you share indoor space with hundreds of strangers – isn’t a wise idea until we have more measures in place to halt the spread of this new coronavirus. Even driving could be risky because of any stops you might need to make along the way.
If you’re among the many people who normally travel to another city or state for the Thanksgiving holiday, this year, it’s safer to limit your celebration only to people who live in your immediate household. Coordinate a virtual Thanksgiving 2020 dinner with far-flung loved ones, so you can still see each other without worrying about viral spread.
2. Plan, Plan, Plan
If you have your heart set on hosting or attending a Thanksgiving celebration, meticulous planning can ensure maximum safety for everyone involved. Firstly, consider moving the gathering outside if weather permits. Simplify the event by letting people know that it will be a shorter get-together this year.
Ensure anyone who’s planning on coming to Thanksgiving dinner is taking the same level of precautions as you do. If you’re traveling, use a tracker to check coronavirus transmission rates in your hometown, as well as your destination. To stay even more on the safe side, everyone should agree to quarantine for two weeks before the date of the get-together. Check that all confirmed guests have gotten their flu shot, too.
3. Avoid Large Gatherings
Many Americans look forward to Black Friday to give them a head start on their holiday gift shopping. This year, see what sales your favorite retailers are offering online, instead of packing into a crowded store. By the same token, if your community is planning any events that might draw large groups, like a Thanksgiving parade or 5K run, stay home instead. You can still enjoy Macy’s virtual Thanksgiving Day Parade from the comfort of your couch.
Extraordinary Times Call for Extraordinary Measures
The pandemic has forced us all to do things that might have seemed unimaginable a year ago, but until scientists discover a cure for COVID-19, these circumstances will continue for the foreseeable future. Be grateful for the chance to spend Thanksgiving 2020 in safety and comfort, and perhaps by this time next year, we’ll be able to host in-person family gatherings once more.