How to Safely Celebrate Thanksgiving During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Thanksgiving is usually a time for friends and family to get together for a big feast, but maybe not this year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, having a Thanksgiving gathering in your apartment is a health hazard. But if you still want to have a small group over, can you minimize your risk of getting you or your loved ones sick? Here’s how to safely celebrate Thanksgiving during the COVID-19 pandemic (but be sure to follow your local and state health departments’ COVID-19 safety and gathering guidelines as well).

Get your meal ingredients way ahead of time

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends going shopping for Thanksgiving well in advance of the holiday. Stores are expected to be crowded even as the pandemic continues, so to minimize your chance of COVID-19 exposure (and subsequent spreading of it to guests), it’s best to avoid supermarket crowds. 

Additionally, health experts discourage going to crowded stores after Thanksgiving. This includes forgoing Black Friday and the following Monday (which you can enjoy virtually via Cyber Monday). If you want to shop after Thanksgiving, you can already find many Thanksgiving and Black Friday deals online.

How to Safely Celebrate Thanksgiving During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Keep it small

Minimize COVID-19 transmission by keeping your Thanksgiving gathering small. Invite just one or two people who have properly quarantined and regularly worn face masks while social distancing. If you’re worried about cooking too much for such a small crowd, then stick to recipes for small Thanksgiving dinners. Alternatively, some recipe websites let you adjust recipes’ ingredients to reflect smaller serving amounts with just a few clicks.

Try Thanksgiving outside

If it’s not cold in your area, have a small Thanksgiving dinner outdoors with family and friends who live in your community. Be sure to follow the CDC’s social distancing guidelines for social activities – being outside is not a substitute for proper COVID-19 safety measures. 

That said, the novel coronavirus does spread more easily indoors due to low ventilation. That’s why sitting in an apartment with poor ventilation may spread COVID-19. If the weather is warm enough for you to eat outside, do so if you and your guests can social distance by sitting at least six feet apart. 

Be aware of best hygiene practices

Hygiene is essential while hosting a small Thanksgiving dinner, as without it, COVID-19 can more easily spread. When your small number of guests arrive, minimize greetings that involve close contact and touching, such as shaking hands, elbow bumps, or hugging. It’s best to wave and verbally greet your guests instead. 

Minimize high-touch opportunities with objects as well. For example, guests should bring their drinks. To minimize the number of people touching food and utensils, identify the person who will cook and designate someone to serve all food. Additionally, provide touchless garbage cans. Be sure to clean before and after too: Use gloves, disinfect high-touch surfaces, and wash your hands before and after wearing your gloves.

Go virtual

If all this work to avoid COVID-19 worries you, then you can always see your friends and family via virtual Thanksgiving instead. Make your virtual Thanksgiving event fancy by decorating your apartment for the occasion. That said, if you want a low-stress virtual call, don’t focus on decorating – just make an easy yet eye-catching Thanksgiving meal and have your guests do the same for themselves. 

How will you celebrate Thanksgiving during the COVID-19 pandemic? Share your plans in the comments!

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