Safely celebrating Thanksgiving with your loved ones in 2020

During the coronavirus pandemic, many Americans remain uneasy about public outings and spending time with people from outside their households. With Thanksgiving Day almost here, some might be wondering how to celebrate the holidays while protecting their own health and the health of friends and family members, too.

As cases in Arizona and throughout the U.S. increase rapidly in this new wave of the pandemic, the CDC saysthe safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with. Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu.”

There are still plenty of ways to celebrate Thanksgiving!

  • Host a virtual Thanksgiving meal with family or friends by scheduling a time to share a meal together, catching up with loved ones across the country.
  • Try gratitude activities.
  • Look for socially distant volunteer opportunities (like at Southwest Human Development).
  • Watch Thanksgiving Day parades, sports and other televised events.

If you decide to host or attend a small Thanksgiving gathering, make sure to take these safety precautions:

  • Stay home if you are sick. Remind your immediate family and other invited guests to stay home if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to the virus in the last 14 days.
  • Limit the guest list. Reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 by keeping your guest list as small as possible. The CDC says that small household gatherings are a big reason there’s been a recent spike in national COVID-19 cases, so try to keep the number of guests reasonable.
  • Mask up. Keep your mask on when you’re not eating or drinking. When you’re not wearing it, keep it folded and stored safely away from potentially contaminated surfaces.
  • Maintain physical distancing. If you’re celebrating with people who don’t live in your household, try to keep your distance as often as possible. Remember, someone can spread COVID-19 even if they’re not displaying symptoms. Ensure seating areas are spaced out so that everyone is at least six feet apart. If possible, consider having your Thanksgiving dinner outdoors
  • Bring your own food, drinks, plates, utensils and cups. Limit the chances of catching COVID-19 by bringing everything your family will need for Thanksgiving.
  • Practice good hand-washing. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Wash up after touching potentially contaminated surfaces, interacting with others and, most importantly, before eating. Keep hand sanitizer with you in case you can’t wash your hands; just make sure it contains at least 60% alcohol.

The most important thing to remember this Thanksgiving is to celebrate with your family’s well-being and comfort level in mind. If a Thanksgiving gathering will have more people than you’re comfortable, won’t have safety precautions or requires travel, remember that there are alternative ways to celebrate the day. And although you may feel bad declining an invitation, most people will be understanding of different comfort levels.

No matter what you decide to do this Thanksgiving, remember to show gratitude for your loved ones and their support during a long, trying year.

Read the CDC’s full guide to celebrating Thanksgiving during COVID-19.