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CDC Issues New Guidance on How to Celebrate Thanksgiving

“Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others,” reports the agency.
grandmother carrying turkey for family on thanksgiving dinner

After a Spring and Summer season devoid of family gatherings, due to COVID-19, the mother of them all is approaching: Thanksgiving. And while you may be tempted to gather with your loved ones over Tom Turkey and cranberry sauce, the CDC just released new guidance to persuade you to do otherwise. "Thanksgiving is a time when many families travel long distances to celebrate together," says the agency. "Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. If you must travel, be informed of the risks involved." Read on to find out which activities have the least and most risk, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

Lower Risk Activities

Says the CDC:

  • "Having a small dinner with only people who live in your household
  • Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn't involve contact with others
  • Having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family
  • Shopping online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving or the next Monday
  • Watching sports events, parades, and movies from home."

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Moderate Risk Activities

Says the CDC:

  • "Having a small outdoor dinner with family and friends who live in your community
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing
  • Attending a small outdoor sports events with safety precautions in place"

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Higher Risk Activities

Says the CDC:

"Avoid these higher risk activities to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19:

  • Going shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving
  • Participating or being a spectator at a crowded race
  • Attending crowded parades
  • Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors
  • Attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household."

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Final Word from the CDC

"These considerations are meant to supplement—not replace—any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which holiday gatherings must comply," the agency cautions. "When planning to host a holiday celebration, you should assess current COVID-19 levels in your community to determine whether to postpone, cancel, or limit the number of attendees." As for yourself: to stay safe during this pandemic, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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