We’ve got 5 tips for a safe Thanksgiving during the COVID pandemic. Experts say that at-home gatherings are behind rising COVID-19 rates but many families don’t want to miss out on spending the holiday together. We’ll break down 5 ways to hold a Thanksgiving celebration and still keep your family safe from COVID.
Go Outside This Thanksgiving
Take a clue from the Pilgrims and hold your Thanksgiving dinner outside. If you live somewhere weather permits, an outdoor feast allows for plenty of social distance. Experts say you’re far less likely to be exposed to a sufficient dose of the respiratory droplets that spread COVID when you’re in the great outdoors. Plus you should have room to spread out tables and chairs.
Consider putting up a canopy to shelter you from the weather but think twice about an enclosed tent. Outdoor fireplaces or heaters can provide warmth in cooler climates. You might even consider cooking the turkey outside on the grill or in a smoker to turn it all into an outdoor feast. Make sure to offer blankets and hot drinks to help everyone stay warm.
To Stay Safe
Normally, Thanksgiving is the time to bring out your best dishes and silverware but this year, think about paper plates and plastic forks. According to the CDC, disposable dinnerware is the safest option.
Make things feel a little more festive by purchasing Thanksgiving-themed paper plates and napkins with color-coordinated plastic forks. Don’t forget about plastic cups. Think about decorating your tables with disposable plastic or paper tablecloths.
Save the good china, wine glasses, and linen for next year’s celebration.
Bring Your Own Thanksgiving Food
Bring-your-own-bottle celebrations are nothing new. However, experts say a great way to stay safe at Thanksgiving during COVID is to bring your own food. They’re not talking about a potluck where each person brings a dish to share. They mean each family packs up individual servings just for the people in their household and brings it to the gathering in separate containers.
Everyone dines together. You’ll enjoy each other’s company but not each other’s cooking. If you need to heat up the food, make sure you go in the kitchen area one family at a time and sanitize afterward to minimize contact.
Individual servings of drinks are a better idea than filling glasses from bottles of wine or soda. But make sure everyone brings their own cooler to minimize contact. Use single-serving packets of items like salad dressing, condiments, or butter.
Keep Your Distance
It’s important not to drop your guard just because you’re around family members. Wear masks and stay as far away from people who aren’t part of your household as possible. That may mean setting up smaller separate dining areas in other rooms of your home or out on the porch. Be especially careful to create a safe space for elderly people or those at high risk for COVID complications.
Other safety steps include:
- When you take your mask off to eat, store it next to you in a paper bag. Bring along extra masks and put any that become wet or dirty into a plastic bag to take home with you.
- Make sure to regularly sanitize your hands and be very careful not to touch your face. Hosts should have plenty of hand sanitizer available for guests.
- Keep as many windows open as the weather permits to encourage good ventilation.
- Check with your guests to see if they have any symptoms or have recently been exposed to COVID-19.
The safest option is to skip the in-person gathering completely and go for a virtual celebration. Consider celebrating Zooms-giving by hosting a virtual family get-together on Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, or Facebook Messenger.
Set your device up at the table and all eat at the same time. Make it fun by sharing favorite recipes with each other and all preparing the same dishes. Maybe even do a little virtual cooking together the night before. Drop off prepared meals for relatives and friends who can’t cook for themselves. Tech-savvy family members can help those who aren’t that comfortable with video chatting get set up before the big day.