CDC releases guidance on how to celebrate Thanksgiving safely during COVID-19 era

Recommendations include keeping gatherings small, delivering food to at-risk individuals

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking families, despite the temptation to do otherwise, to keep COVID-19 precautions in mind when celebrating Thanksgiving this year.

The agency recognizes after a mostly socially distant and unprecedented year, families will want to gather around the table and partake in the holiday surrounding gratitude.

To help avoid the spread of coronavirus the CDC has separated its guidance into three sections: low-risk activities, moderate risk activities and high-risk activities. Families need to determine the health risks of those they plan to celebrate with and consider activities that would suit the makeup of their families and consider the need for travel in the interest of keeping their loved ones safe.

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Low-risk activities

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  • KEEP IT SMALL: Have an intimate dinner with only people who live in your household.
  • DON’T FORGET HIGH-RISK INDIVIDUALS: Prepare traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and deliver them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others.
  • GO VIRTUAL: Have a virtual dinner and share recipes with friends and family.
  • BLACK FRIDAY: Shop online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving.
  • CHEER FROM HOME: Watch sports events, parades, and movies from home

Moderate risk activities

Containing L-tryptophan, an amino acid that triggers the release of serotonin, the feel-good chemical of the brain, turkey is the reason you feel relaxed -- or, possibly, even tired -- after eating it. (Flickr: Dana)
  • EAT OUTSIDE: Have a small outdoor dinner with family and friends who live in your community. Lower your risk by following CDC’s recommendations on hosting gatherings or cook-outs.
  • GET A FEEL FOR FALL: Visit pumpkin patches or orchards. Use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wear masks and make sure people are able to maintain social distancing.
  • GET ACTIVE: Attend small outdoor sports events with safety precautions in place or consider playing games outside.

High-risk activities

FILE- In this Oct. 28, 2014, file photo people shop at the Century 21 Department Store in Philadelphia. Century 21 Stores - a destination for bargain hunters looking for fat deals on designer dresses and shoes for nearly 60 years - has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is winding down its business, including all multiple stores across New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The CDC warns to avoid these higher-risk activities to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

  • BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU SHOP: Avoid going shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving. Consider ordering groceries or goods for pick up or delivery as stores will be busy this time of year.
  • BEING A SPECTATOR: Be wary of participating or being a fan in the stands at a crowded race or sporting event.
  • AVOID CROWDS: Being cognizant of remaining social distance from people and consider avoid attending crowded parades.
  • USE BETTER JUDGEMENT: The CDC says to avoid using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgment and increase risky behaviors.
  • KEEP IT INTIMATE: Avoid attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household. This could mitigate exposure to COVID-19.

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