As families plan their Thanksgiving dinners, health officials suggest taking certain precautions this year.
That’s because some holiday activities have a higher risk of spreading COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in guidance updated this month.
While Thanksgiving is traditionally a time for friends and relatives to reunite, the CDC says staying home is the best way to protect against the coronavirus.
That means you may want to consider having a virtual gathering, sharing recipes or delivering meals to loved ones who have a chance of getting seriously sick from COVID-19, health officials say.
“A small dinner with only people who live in your household” introduces a low risk for transmitting the disease, according to health officials.
An outdoor meal with family and friends in your neighborhood poses a “moderate risk,” while large indoor celebrations with non-household members should be avoided, the CDC said on its website.
Everyone is advised to steer clear of other “higher risk activities,” including crowded in-person Thanksgiving parades or races. The CDC also suggests people shop online for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals instead of going into packed stores.
For those who plan to travel, health experts warn that leaving home “increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.”
The CDC says people who need to take Thanksgiving trips should know that some activities can heighten the risks of getting sick. Those include taking flights with layovers and staying in shared accommodations.
“Doing things and spending time with people you live with is less risky than doing things and spending time with people not from your household,” the CDC said on its website.
The considerations for Thanksgiving come as the agency has offered recommendations for Halloween and other holidays.
The CDC says people with coronavirus symptoms, a recent positive COVID-19 test or potential exposure to the disease should avoid fall celebrations. For those who attend, it’s best for everyone to wash their hands frequently, wear masks and practice social distancing, officials say.
Some people are already planning holiday gatherings with precautions. Caitlin Joyce said her family will get together in a garage that allows everyone to be at a 6-foot distance, the Associated Press reported last month.
“We’ll be in our coats and our sweaters,” Joyce, who lives in Washington, told AP. “It will be almost like camping.”
Cassie Docking, a nurse who’s also from Washington, has two parents who survived cancer and will celebrate Thanksgiving with them through video chat, the news outlet reported.
“We all want to get to 2021, and if that’s what it takes, that’s what we’ll do,” she told the AP.