CDC Recommends Staying Home This Thanksgiving
You know that close talker who always seems to corner you at large family gatherings? Or that goofy uncle you only see during the holidays who tells the same stories every year? You should be safe from both of those this year if you follow safety guidelines for holiday celebrations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends staying home for Thanksgiving and celebrating only with people in your household. This comes as the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have been soaring across the country in recent weeks.
The people in your home are likely already taking the same precautions you are, so any risk is much lower. Doing that will help prevent you from getting or spreading COVID-19 and the flu.
If you are thinking about spending Thanksgiving away from your home, the CDC wants you to consider several questions: Is anyone in your household or those you’ll be visiting considered high-risk for COVID-19? Will you be with someone who doesn’t live with you? Can you stay six feet apart from others when you’re traveling?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, the CDC recommends that you stay home for Thanksgiving and not host a gathering for people who don’t live in your household. It’s critical that we slow the spread now, so we can get back to enjoying time with our friends and family as quickly as possible.
If you ignore the CDC’s recommendations
The suggestions made by the CDC are to keep you and your family safe. We know it will be difficult to not spend Thanksgiving in person with extended family and friends. But it’s necessary to help slow the spread of COVID-19. However, if you decide to ignore what the CDC suggests, keep these precautions in mind.
Hosting an event: If you and members of your household are low-risk and you plan to open your home to others, make sure the guests follow the rules you’ve been following for months: Wear a mask, stay at least six feet from people you don’t live with and frequently wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer. Consider these precautions, as well:
- Have a small outdoor gathering, if possible. If you have to celebrate indoors, open the windows if the weather allows that.
- Commit to shorter get-togethers, like a one-hour celebration instead of four hours.
- Limit the number of people who are invited. Fewer than 10 is a good rule of thumb.
- Wear masks at all times except when eating and drinking.
- Make sure guests know ahead of time about the safety expectations you have for them.
- Frequently clean and disinfect common surfaces, such as food preparation areas, countertops, light switches, door handles and all restroom surfaces.
- Ask guests to bring their own food and utensils or use disposable plates and silverware. If you’re sharing food, choose one person to prepare plates.
Going to someone else’s home: In addition to wearing a mask and frequently washing your hands, here are some other tips:
- Bring your own food, dishes and utensils or use disposable ones.
- Only take off your mask while eating and drinking.
- Use single-use options for things like salad dressings, other condiments and seasonings versus bottles that everyone can share.
Alternative holiday celebrations: There are ways to celebrate Thanksgiving without coming into contact with people who don’t live in your house. For example:
- Try a virtual event. You’ll still be able to enjoy holiday traditions like sharing what you’re thankful for while your friends and extended family do the same from their homes. Be sure to show off your table settings and your favorite dishes, so you can still have bragging rights. Plus, it’s the perfect time to talk about what you’re most looking forward to doing when it’s safe to be with extended family and friends. Even hearing a story from that goofy uncle.
- Offer to take dinner to someone who lives alone or may not be able to cook. You can arrange to leave the meal on the front porch instead of handing it to them in person.
Filed under: Health Education