With Thanksgiving a week away and the coronavirus pandemic still raging across the United States, celebrations are likely to be very different this year.
Public health officials are now providing information on how Americans can stay as safe as possible while seeing their families on November 26.
“The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate with people in your household. If you do plan to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, take steps to make your celebration safer,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines state.
The CDC recommends wearing a mask with two or more layers, which should be stored safely when eating and drinking.
Ensuring that you keep at least six feet from people you do not live with is also key, the CDC said. This is particularly important for people who are at high risk of getting severely sick from COVID-19.
In addition, the CDC urges Americans to wash their hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you are unable to do so, use a hand sanitizer—with at least 60 percent alcohol.
For those attending a gathering, the CDC recommends bringing your own food, drinks, plates, cups and utensils.
“Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen. Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates and utensils,” the CDC said.
If you are hosting a Thanksgiving gathering, the CDC recommends having a “small outdoor meal” if possible, with family or friends who live in your area while limiting the number of guests.
In regions where an outdoor meal isn’t suitable, the agency says windows should be kept open if possible. Cleaning and disinfecting regularly touched surfaces and items is also recommended.
The agency advised against travel this Thanksgiving, saying: “Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.” If you do travel, get a flu vaccination before you leave and adhere to the other guidelines.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease specialist, told CBS This Morning that Americans should use their “common sense” this Thanksgiving and urged them to wear masks wherever possible, even indoors.
“Even if it’s a very small group, to the extent possible, keep the mask on,” Fauci said. “Nothing is going to be perfect in this. Obviously, it’s kind of difficult to be eating and drinking at a dinner with a mask on.”
But Fauci added that if all attendees at a gathering quarantined and tested negative for COVID-19 before the gathering, the risk of someone getting infected would be lower, although nothing is “risk-free.”
“Of course, it’s not 100 percent that they couldn’t have gotten infected from the time they got tested to the time they got there.”