A Coronavirus Thanksgiving: Dos and Don’ts

Abigail Fireison

Many use the Thanksgiving holiday as a time to get together with relatives and friends, eat good food, and be grateful for the things in their lives. This year, due to COVID-19 and rising cases in America, this Thanksgiving will have to be different in many ways. Using CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guidelines for coronavirus holiday gatherings, here are some dos and don’ts for ways to safely celebrate.

Do: Try to spend Thanksgiving with your immediate family.

A big part of many people’s Thanksgivings is spending time with relatives, sometimes those that live far away, but keeping the festivities to members of one’s own household creates the lowest chances of exposure or spreading the virus. For those who do plan to invite members outside of the household should consider inviting people who have been practicing safe behavior, such as consistently practicing social distancing and mask-wearing. More people, however, do increase risk for spreading.

Don’t: Come to a Thanksgiving gathering if you have underlying health conditions.

A factor for increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 is having an underlying health condition. Those with diabetes, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), various heart conditions, and other health problems should not attend in-person holiday get-togethers, according to the CDC.

Do: Have a Thanksgiving gathering over Zoom.

To eliminate the risk of in-person gatherings, one could use Zoom to get in touch with relatives and friends while celebrating. Although Zoom can sometimes be glitchy, it is a good way to see the faces of loved ones without risking exposure to COVID-19.

Don’t: Actively seek to travel to meet friends and family.

Traveling to see loved ones during Thanksgiving can be a part of tradition, but this year, the dangers of traveling are associated with the deadly virus. Rest stops, airports, bus stations, gas stations, and train stations can all be hotspots for COVID-19. There are plenty of other factors that can determine how at risk one might be to travel, or how much risk one might put others at while traveling. For example, if ones community has seen high numbers of cases recently, or if the place one is going to has, it would be best to avoid traveling altogether.

Do: Encourage people to bring their own food and avoid potluck-style serving.

If one is having an in-person gathering with people coming from multiple households, avoid spreading the virus by asking incoming relatives to bring their own food. Less buffet-style serving means less contact between people outside of the household. If bringing individual food is not possible, have one person serve the food to avoid unnecessary exposure.

Don’t: Keep gathering inside.

Though it may be cold, having friends and family from different households gather outside for Thanksgiving increases ventilation, which lowers the risk of getting COVID-19. Keeping windows and doors open is also a good way to increase ventilation if the gathering is inside. While outside, continue to observe social distancing and wear a mask; though there is increased ventilation outside, there is still risk.

Do: Continue observing CDC guidelines and practicing safe behaviors.

If one chooses to gather with people outside the household this Thanksgiving, one should continue to wash their hands, wear a mask, and practice six-feet social distancing. If one is unsure of what other precautions to take, or to learn more about what to do to stay safe, take the time to research CDC and other health guidelines.

From all of us at Theogony, have a happy Thanksgiving!

Abigail Fireison is a sophomore at T.C. Williams High School. She took Journalism 1 and joined the Theogony staff in 2020. Abigail enjoys writing for the newspaper, but she also likes creative writing, and she plays on a soccer team for the Alexandria Soccer Association (ASA).