Thinking about traveling to see loved ones for Thanksgiving?
You might want to think again.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their Thanksgiving guidance and encouraged people to celebrate at home ––with only the people in your household.
“More than 1 million COVID-19 cases were reported in the United States over the last 7 days,” according to the CDC’s Celebrating Thanksgiving section of the website. “As cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States, the 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.”
So what can you do instead?
Consider a virtual Thanksgiving.
“Celebrating virtually or with the people you live with is the safest choice this Thanksgiving,” according to the CDC guidelines.
You can do it through Zoom or other video chat platforms — you can virtually eat together or just hang out.
Think of it this way: It’ll be a different kind of experience, something you can talk about in the future when it’s again safe for big get-togethers.
The CDC also recommends people find other activities to enjoy such as watching Thanksgiving Day parades, sports games and movies on TV.
In addition, people can take advantage of the holiday sales by buying gifts online, picking them up curbside or shopping in an open air market while social distancing and wearing a mask, the guidance noted.
Dropping off food to family members or neighbors outside their homes is okay as long as contact is limited i.e. leaving the food outside their door.
Planning for Thanksgiving? Consider hosting a virtual meal with friends and family who don’t live with you. Schedule a…
The CDC also lists guidance on their website for people who plan to travel by car, airplane or bus for Thanksgiving but do not recommend this option.
“Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19,” according to the CDC guidance. “Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year.”
Before you travel, ask yourself these questions from the CDC below. If you answer yes to any of the questions, you might want to stay home.
- Are you, someone in your household, or someone you will be visiting at increased risk for getting very sick from COVID-19?
- Are cases high or increasing in your community or your destination? Check CDC’s COVID Data Tracker for the latest number of cases.
- Are hospitals in your community or your destination overwhelmed with patients who have COVID-19?
- Does your home or destination have requirements or restrictions for travelers? Check state and local requirements before you travel.
- During the 14 days before your travel, have you or those you are visiting had close contact with people they don’t live with?
- Do your plans include traveling by bus, train, or air which might make staying six feet apart difficult?
- Are you traveling with people who don’t live with you?
Those who do plan to travel for the holiday are advised to plan ahead by looking at travel restrictions and precautions such as getting tested before of after arrival and if the person needs to quarantine for a certain number of days. Each state has different restrictions and you can find out more information here.
The CDC also recommends people get a flu shot before they travel and follow other COVID-19 guidance, including wearing a mask in public, social distancing by standing six feet apart from others not in your household and washing your hands or use hand sanitizer often.
Attending or hosting a gathering
“When making decisions about going to public spaces or attending social events, it’s important to think about the risk of spreading COVID-19,” according to the Virginia Department of Health website. “Factors to consider include your own ability to wear a mask, your risk for developing severe COVID-19, and whether you live with someone at higher risk for developing severe illness.”
“Higher levels of COVID-19 in the community where the gathering will be held or where the attendees are coming from mean that there is a higher risk that someone could be infected with COVID-19.”
Per Gov. Ralph Northam’s guidance, gatherings are now limited to 25 people or fewer.
Those gathering on Thanksgiving can take some precautions with people not in their household by wearing a mask and bringing their own drinks, plates, silverware and food.
People who choose to host the Thanksgiving meal are encouraged to have their event outdoors and if the event is indoors, to open the windows.
Here are the latest number of positive coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths for the Peninsula Health District including the Historic Triangle.
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