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Thanksgiving in the Shadow of COVID

Nov/22/2020 / by Arthur McMahon

thanksgivingYou miss your family and friends and want to put together a Thanksgiving celebration for all to enjoy, but can you safely host a Thanksgiving gathering during a pandemic?

Staying close to those near and dear is part of what makes us human. And one reason we celebrate holidays – Thanksgiving, in particular – is to spend time with them. The COVID-19 pandemic has made such occasions appear even more important, and yet harder to host.

Still, you can put together a responsible holiday party. To properly plan for Thanksgiving during a pandemic, you will need to prepare your venue ahead of time, decide whom to invite, and instruct your guests on how to keep safe during the celebration.

Preparing Your Thanksgiving Venue

While tradition suggests that you should host Thanksgiving dinner inside your home, there is no fiat on this. Even the World Health Organization has pointed out that, given the circumstances, virtual and outdoor gatherings are preferable. 

Serving dinner on your patio or in your backyard, rather than in your dining room, will reduce the risk of COVID transmission for you and your guests. If the weather is a concern, you can pop open a party tent and line the sides with patio heaters.

Image credits: Monika Grabkowska/Unsplash

Really cautious folk go further and turn their Thanksgiving dinner into an online event. Not only is this a safe way to reconnect with friends and family and also reduce anxiety, but it also reduces work and cleanup for the virtual host.

If you must celebrate the holiday indoors, however, it is best to make your home as spacious as possible. Moving unnecessary furniture out of the way will allow for everybody quicker access to the food and ensure better social distancing practices.

Likewise, opening windows and activating ventilation systems will enhance airflow and reduce the likelihood of coronaviruses lingering on and moving on to relatives. Also, plan to host a shorter event than usual to reduce the risk of extended exposure.

Whom to Invite

It is important to try and limit the number of guests. Though you may want all of your loved ones over, this may not be the best time for it. Be sure to look over local guidelines for up-to-date restrictions on gatherings.

Consider where your guests come from, and recent data about the coronavirus’s spread in that area . It is much safer to invite those who live in your area than those who must come from afar, according to the Center for Disease Control

You will also need to consider whether those invited are likely to respectfully adhere to the safety guidelines you set. Be sure to include that information in the invitations you send out. Also remind your guests to stay home if they are sick or have possibly been exposed to the virus. 

Image credits: Lilas Yohane/Unsplash

Safety During the Celebration

You have planned and prepared for Thanksgiving dinner, and now the day has arrived! You and your guests can be safe and have a good time as long as everyone sticks to the guidelines you have established. The CDC has a trustworthy guide that you can use for reference as you put together your own set of rules.

Ensure hygiene and safety by providing extra masks, cleansing surface wipes, accessible hand sanitizers, washing locations, and ample space to maintain social distance.

Decide ahead of time who will serve dinner, and have them wear sanitary gloves. The fewer people touching the food and cutlery, the better.

Remember to Have Fun

It is a party, after all! You’ve done your best to ensure a safe and joyous event. Now, be sure to enjoy it. With everyone well-informed and respectfully social-distancing, you should have nothing to worry about.