Thanksgiving this year will be anything but traditional with the exponential increase of COVID-19 cases across Kentucky and the entire nation. Although we are living in a pandemic, there are ways to enjoy Thanksgiving festivities safely by limiting your celebration to eight people.
On November 18, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear ordered restaurants and bars to close indoor dining service starting at 5 p.m. on November 20 through December 13. Carryout, delivery and outdoor dining service will be allowed.
Governor Beshear also will limit private gatherings from November 20 through December 13 to eight people or less. He said Kentuckians should limit those gatherings to their household plus one more household so long as it does not exceed the eight-person limit.
“The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate with the people in your household,” said Maria Braman, MD, ARH Chief Medical Officer. “These are the people you are around daily. If you invite others outside your home, you will need to practice additional safety measures such as opening windows or eating outside, social distancing, wearing masks and using plastic utensils, plates and cups. The CDC has a list of ways to try to keep you and your guests safe.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these tips can help make your Thanksgiving holiday safer.
Wear a mask
Wear a mask with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19. Make sure the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin. Also make sure the mask fits snugly against the sides of your face.
Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you
Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread COVID-19 or flu. Keeping 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
Wash your hands
Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Keep hand sanitizer with you and use it when you are unable to wash your hands. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Attending a Gathering
Make your celebration safer. In addition to following the steps that everyone can take to make Thanksgiving safer, take these additional steps while attending a Thanksgiving gathering.
- Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups and utensils.
- Wear a mask, and safely store your mask while eating and drinking.
- 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.
Hosting a Thanksgiving Gathering
If having guests to your home, be sure that people follow the steps that everyone can take to make Thanksgiving safer. Other steps you can take include:
- Have a small outdoor meal with family and friends.
- Limit the number of guests to no more than eight per Governor Beshear.
- Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
- If celebrating indoors, make sure to open windows.
- Limit the number of people in food preparation areas.
- Have guests bring their own food and drink.
- If sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils.
Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.
If you do travel, check travel restrictions before you go.
- Get your flu shot before you travel.
- Always wear a mask in public settings and on public transportation.
- Stay at least 6 feet apart from anyone who is not in your household.
- Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Bring extra supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer.
Consider Other Thanksgiving Activities
Host a virtual Thanksgiving meal with friends and family who don’t live with you. Schedule a time to share a meal together virtually. Have people share recipes and show their turkey, dressing, or other dishes they prepared.
Watch television and play games with people in your household. Watch Thanksgiving Day parades, sports and movies at home. You also could find a fun game to play.
Keep in mind that Thanksgiving is one day on the calendar. Although there may be some Thanksgiving traditions you have to miss this year, staying safe should be an important part of your celebration. Be thankful that you have the opportunity to celebrate with your loved ones.