Thanksgiving Tips for 2020 – Spreading Love not COVID-19

elderly couple using laptop video call

Thanksgiving is around the corner and the stress around family gatherings has taken on a new dimension amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. After nearly 10 months of lockdowns, restrictions and fear of being together, we are all so exhausted and are yearning for human connection. Yet, as we all know from the infectious disease experts, indoor gatherings among large and disparate groups are where this cunning virus thrives. Among the anxious questions being raised are: Should we be gathering at all this year? What is the plan around quarantining and testing? How many our family members can we safely invite? What about our college students returning from campus? What to do about Uncle Al who thinks masks are not manly? In the end, it all boils down to you and your family’s willingness to accept the risks of contracting the Covid-19 virus AND/OR transmitting it to your loved ones. It’s about walking a tricky tightrope of balancing the health benefits of bonding with loved ones and being safe. Ideally, Thanksgiving gatherings should only be happening among family in immediate households. However, addressing the elephant in the room – right now, you may be considering broadening the circle– just a little. If this is the case, here are some tips for upping the safety quotient this Thanksgiving:

Review local infectivity rates from your state board of health data online – the higher the rate, the greater the chance that COVID-19 can spread – this should be guiding your decision on whether you should gather.

If there are family members who are at a greater risk of contracting severe disease from COVID-19, then they should consider just gathering virtually rather than getting together physically – here are some ways to make it special: MindSense Turkey Tips

You and your “Thanksgiving pod” should all share common values around COVID-19 safety precautions and best practices to keep each other safe. Those who gather should be symptom free and temperature checked and have masks (no bandanas, gators or ventilated masks welcome).

Know the local regulations around your state’s travel and quarantine guidelines; if family are travelling, they should be adhering to local testing and quarantine guidelines and when possible should chose driving over flying to reduce exposure.

Make your Thanksgiving plan, communicate it clearly, get buy in and be prepared to enforce the ground rules around safety practices.

Remember, testing is not an excuse to not practice other preventative measures such as social distancing and mask wearing — there can be false negative tests especially if they are done on asymptomatic individuals or early in the disease process

If gathering indoors with family, think as small a group as possible in as large and as well-ventilated an area as possible; use disposables and keep that hand sanitizer front and center beside the turkey

Use masks or face coverings indoors and remove only when eating and drinking

Use any opportunity for part or all of the of the gathering to be outdoors as weather permits and social distance and wear masks as appropriate

Consider shortening the Thanksgiving meal duration and limiting courses to avoid a lengthy day long gathering

Show your love and gratitude by letting your loved ones know that their safety is your top priority

Happy Thanksgiving!

Written by Anne Sansevero

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