Thanksgiving and COVID-19: What you need to know

Thanksgiving is almost here!

For many, Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family and friend and share a hearty meal. It’s also a time to give thanks for all the good in your life, and to remember those who provided joy. Traditional Thanksgiving gatherings are usually large and long events. Many people come from different parts of the country, and the world, to spend the day, or a few days, together.

This year, with COVID cases on the rise, Thanksgiving will undoubtedly look, and feel, different.

Many states and health organizations are concerned with the sharp uptick in recent COVID positive cases and hospitalization, and due to these concerns, have imposed restrictions on travel and gatherings. In fact, many are recommending people not travel this year and are asking people to limit in-person events to help reduce the risk of exposure and the spread of the virus.

Of course, people are free to make their own decision about their Thanksgiving plans. However, until there is vaccine and until it is widely available, adhering to state and CDC guidelines can help everyone in the fight to eliminate this virus.

Thanksgiving and COVID-19 – Tips to Stay Safe

With that in mind, here are some tips to follow to help reduce your risk getting and spreading the virus:

  • Check your community – Family and friends should consider the number of COVID-19 cases in their community and in the community where they plan to celebrate when deciding whether to host or attend a gathering. Areas with high or increasing numbers should be avoided.
  • Travel plans – Many states are recommending that people do not travel for the holiday. However, if you are planning to travel, or have guest traveling to you, keep in mind that airports, bus stations, train stations, public transport, gas stations, and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus in the air and on surfaces. Some states have imposed restrictions and quarantine requirements for those visiting from out-of-state, so be sure to check the guidelines before making travel plans.
  • Location of the gathering – Indoor gatherings are considered a higher risk of virus spread than outdoor gatherings. If you plan to hold Thanksgiving in your home, be sure to:
    • limit the number of guests (some states have added new restrictions, the CDC recommends keeping the guest list to 6),
    • open windows for ventilation,
    • consider using disposable utensils,
    • designate one person as the meal server to avoid any potential cross-contamination,
    • wear masks
    • maintain social distance
    • practice proper hygiene and hand washing
  • Duration of the gathering – Though traditional Thanksgiving gatherings tend to be day-long events with family and friends, this year is different. Many health officials, including the CDC are asking people to limit to length of gatherings. The longer the event lasts, the higher the risk. So, if possible, limit your event as much as possible.

Keep in mind, being within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more greatly increases the risk of becoming sick and requires a 14-day quarantine. Also, since many people may be asymptomatic, it becomes very difficult to know who has or will become infected.

  • Number of people at the gathering – Gatherings with more people pose more risk than gatherings with fewer people. It is recommended to only hold Thanksgiving with people in your household to reduce the chances of getting or spreading the virus. If you do have family members and friends attend from outside your household, be sure to consider the ability of attendees to maintain social distance (6 feet (2 arm lengths apart), make sure everyone wear masks, wash hands regularly, and follow health and safety laws, rules, and regulations.

 Who should not attend in-person holiday gatherings?

If your family member or guests or even yourself, have recently tested positive for COVID-19 or are awaiting testing results or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive, then that person should not attend Thanksgiving in-person.  The risk of exposing other people, especially those with increased risk of serious illness and compromised immune systems, needs to be considered as these people are at a higher risk.

Individuals who are not consistently adhering to CDC and state safety recommendations and other prevention behaviors pose more risk than those who consistently practicing these safety measures. If you know people who are attending Thanksgiving in-person who fall into this category, you may want to reconsider either attending the event or inviting them to your event.

We’re Here to Help

Protecting yourself and others by following the CDC’s recommended safety protocols can help reduce the risk of contracting the virus or spreading it to others.

In these challenging times, the risk of exposure is more prevalent than ever. We offer the following safety service options:

COVID-19 CONSULTING BUNDLE – Written directive/policy on requirements which can be either a corporate policy or a site-specific policy.

COVID-19 TRAINING (INFECTION CONTROL WEBINAR) – We offer Open Enrollment Classes and Private Company Sponsored Classes made available at your convenience.

COVID19 TESTING – We now offer COVID-19 Testing Services For Colleges, Universities, Private Companies, And Public Agencies

If you have concerns about your workforce and coronavirus, please contact us today to learn about steps you can take to protect yourself, your family, and your employees.