CDC Thanksgiving Guidelines to Celebrate the Holiday Safely

Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away, as the holiday falls on November 26, 2020. The holiday season will look a little different for families across the U.S. this year, amid the coronavirus pandemic, but there are safe ways to celebrate the holiday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released guidelines advising Americans on how to celebrate Thanksgiving safely, including hosting smaller gatherings and eating dinner outside.

Firstly, there are general guidelines to follow at all times, not only on Thanksgiving.

Wear a Mask

The CDC recommends wearing a mask with two or more layers over your nose and mouth, making sure it is secure under your chin and against the sides of your face, to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Social Distance

Stay at least six feet away from those who do not live with you, which is especially important for people who are at a high risk of becoming very sick. Remember that people without symptoms can still spread COVID-19.

Wash your Hands

Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol when you're unable to wash your hands.

A Guatemalan immigrant carves the Thanksgiving turkey on November 24, 2016, in Stamford, Connecticut. The CDC has issued guidelines on how to celebrate Thanksgiving safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic. John Moore/Getty

Tips for Attending a Thanksgiving Gathering

Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils to a Thanksgiving gathering, and use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates, and utensils.

Wear a mask and safely store the mask when eating and drinking, and avoid going in and out of areas where food is being prepared.

Tips for Hosting a Thanksgiving Gathering

Host a small meal outdoors with family and friends who live in your community and limit the number of guests. If celebrating indoors, open windows.

Speak with your guests ahead of the gathering to set expectations and ask them to bring their own food and drink. But, if you will be sharing food, have one person serve the food and use single-use utensils.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items and between use, and limit the number of people in food preparation areas.

Traveling for Thanksgiving

The CDC recommends staying home to protect yourself and others as travel increases the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. However, if you do travel, check the travel restrictions before you go and get a flu shot before traveling.

Wear a mask in public, and on public transportation, and stay at least six feet away from anyone outside your household. Additionally, wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitizer, avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose, and mouth, and bring extra supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer.

Alternative Thanksgiving Activities

Host a virtual Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends outside your household and have people share their recipes and show off the dishes they prepared. Safely prepare Thanksgiving dishes and deliver them to family and neighbors without making contact.

Watch Thanksgiving Day parades, sports, and movies at home, and find a fun game to play with your household.

Finally, take part in Black Friday sales online rather than going to the stores, shop at outdoor markets and stay six feet away from others, and use contactless services where possible.

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