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Is Thanksgiving 2020 Canceled?

Mira Research Team13 Nov 2020

Is Thanksgiving 2020 Cancelled?

 

Thanksgiving 2020 During Coronavirus

Due to continued COVID-19 outbreaks, it’s likely that Thanksgiving 2020 will look different this year. As we come upon the national holiday, you may wonder if Thanksgiving 2020 is canceled. However, the answer will largely depend on your comfort level. Here are some things to consider when planning a COVID safe Thanksgiving during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Who are you inviting?
  • Where is the gathering? Is it in a city with a lot of COVID-19 cases?
  • Are any of the people I’m inviting high risk for coronavirus?
  • How will the food be served?
  • Is this dinner indoors or outdoors?
  • Will people be wearing masks?
  • Is there enough space for social distancing?

If you are planning to host a Thanksgiving dinner with family members and friends, it’s best for you and those coming to quarantine for 14 days, if possible. You should also encourage those who are not feeling well to stay home, even if it’s something minor. With the cold, flu, and COVID-19 going around this winter, you should always be more cautious and stay home if feeling sick. 

You will also want to carefully consider the number of people you are inviting so you can be mindful of seating arrangements in order for everyone to have enough individualized space to social distance. It may be a good idea to have an area outside for people to socialize.

According to Anthony Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, we have to be careful, and each group and individual needs to assess the risk and benefits of traditional gatherings this year—especially if people are coming from out of town, where they may have been on airplanes and other public transportation. 

 

Is it safe to travel for Thanksgiving 2020?

Traveling this Thanksgiving Day will put you, your family, and friends at a greater risk for contracting coronavirus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and infectious disease experts, different modes of transportation will affect the likelihood of you contracting coronavirus. The chances of exposure are higher if you come into close contact with others, especially people you don’t know or use shared public facilities (like restrooms). It's clear that holiday travel may be different this year.

It’s also important to track the number of coronavirus cases in the location you are traveling. Visiting locations where there are fewer cases of COVID-19 may be less risky than visiting locations where there are more cases of COVID-19.

You may also want to consider which mode of transportation you are traveling by in order to celebrate the holiday. The following are risk levels associated with different transportation modes based on data from the CDC. 

Minimal RiskModerate Risk More RiskHighest Risk 
  • Staying home
  • Short car rides with members of your household with no stops
  • Longer trips via car or RV with several stops
  • Trips via car or RV with people not from your household
  • Long-distance train/bus trips
  • Direct flights
  • Flights with layovers
  • Cruise ships or boat

Additionally, many states in the United States have various travel restrictions. See our article for travel restrictions across the country, quarantine, and testing policies.

 

CDC Thanksgiving COVID Guidelines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently outlined some guidelines to follow during Thanksgiving plans. The CDC recommended that people should stay home from any in-person Thanksgiving or other holiday gatherings if you: currently have COVID-19, have symptoms of COVID-19, had recent exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, are waiting for a viral test result, or are at elevated risk for COVID-19. 

The following are some holiday activities and their levels of risk determined by the CDC. 

Low RiskModerate RiskHigh Risk
  • Have a small dinner with members of your household
  • Deliver homemade food for others in the neighborhood
  • Have a virtual dinner with extended family
  • Watch sporting events and movies from home
  • Shop online
  • Have a small outdoor dinner with friends and family who live in your community
  • Visit pumpkin patches and orchards
  • Attend small outdoor sporting events with adequate social distancing
  • Attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside your household
  • Going shopping in crowded stores
  • Attending crowded parades or races

 

State Guidelines for Thanksgiving 2020 

Some states have initiated guidelines regarding travel and gathering for the holiday, as well as a general precaution. 

California

  • Has several mandatory requirements to host or participate in private events.
  • Stipulates that three households maximum may gather together for the holiday.
  • Explicitly states that families may not combine additional households by making concurrent reservations in outdoor parks.
  • Explicitly states that people with COVD symptoms must stay home.
  • Stipulates that seating at private events must provide 6 ft distance in all directions
  • States that, if not using single-serve items or utensils, one person must serve food and beverages while practicing good hand hygiene and wearing a mask.
  • States that guests and hosts at private events may only remove face masks when eating and drinking and six feet away from others.
  • Requires that singers must wear masks.

Connecticut

  • Recommends that everyone get a flu vaccine before the holidays.
  • Asks people to consider getting tested 72 hours prior to visiting a loved one in a nursing home.
  • Asks people to avoid gathering with people outside of your household, those who are 65 or who have medication conditions that put them at risk for COVID.
  • Suggests that hosts ask party guests to self-quarantine prior to the gathering
  • Suggests that hosts provide PPE to guests.
  • Encourages people to have an after-travel plan. Other post-travel guidance includes: Monitor your health, extra precaution 14 d after travel, and don’t visit people at the highest risk for COVID after travel.
  • Requires College students returning from state on an advisory list to self-quarantine. They should also avoid vulnerable adults for 14 days prior to gathering.

District of Columbia

  • Suggests that people wear masks during the gathering.
  • Recommends that hosts cancel gatherings if anyone is sick.
  • Offers Thanksgiving activities in low/ medium/high-risk categories.
  • Stipulates that gests from states in high-risk categories must self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • Suggests that hosts keep people out of places where food is prepared.

Idaho

  • Offers guidance for both public and private events.
  • Stipulates that event tents should be considered “indoors.”
  • Suggests that hosts postpone or cancel events that include or expose high-risk individuals, include 65+ individuals.
  • Recommends that hosts and planners should develop contingency plans.

Illinois

  • Encourages people to wear face-covering inside the home where they are visiting.
  • Suggests that hosts seat household members together.
  • Suggests that people who travel should limit the number of ‘outside the home activities’ two weeks prior to Thanksgiving.
  • Chicago, however, issued a stay at home order effective Thursday, November 12th, and extends throughout Thanksgiving.

Minnesota

  • Suggests that people wear a mask around people who don’t live with you.
  • Requires businesses and venues to develop a preparedness plan, including what they will do if people do not comply. If guests do not comply, MN guidance says to stop the event.
  • Mandates that in private homes, 10 people maximum are permitted indoors, and 25 people maximum outdoors.
  • Suggests that for restrooms, hosts should set a maximum number of people who may use it at a time, install touchless mechanisms on doors and trash, and encourage social distancing.

New York

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, announced several new measures aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 as cases tick up in the state and across the US.
  • Among several new rules is a prohibition on gatherings larger than 10 people at private residences, effective Friday, November 13th at 10 p.m.- just two weeks before Thanksgiving.
  • Any business with a state liquor license, including bars and restaurants, will be required to close at 10 p.m.

 

Is Black Friday Cancelled?

Black Friday deals often attract large crowds of people to department stores and malls. This year, it is best to avoid going shopping in crowded stores on Black Friday. Almost all stores will be having deals online this year due to COVID-19.

Therefore, we recommend doing your holiday shopping throughout the month of November and online if possible rather than on Thanksgiving weekend. If you decide to go into a store on Black Friday, be sure to keep a distance of 6 feet from others, wear a face mask at all times, and practice good hygiene to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19.

 

Thanksgiving Dinner Alternatives During Coronavirus Pandemic

Since hosting large indoor gatherings may pose a health risk and increase the spread of COVID-19, there are some ways to get creative in terms of planning a family gathering this holiday season. Here are some ideas to get you started: 

  1. Have Thanksgiving dinner with members of your household and schedule a Zoom call with extended family.
  2. Plan your Thanksgiving gathering earlier in the season when it’s still warm out so you can gather outdoors.
  3. Bring a table outside and host your meal in a garage. This will increase air circulation and keep it warmer than just being outside.
  4. If weather permits have an outdoor dinner with family. You can light a fire, purchase a heating lamp, and ask everyone to wear jackets if it's cold near you.
  5. Eat your meal inside but keep doors and windows open to circulate the air.
  6. Encourage guests to bring their own food and use plastic plates/utensils.
  7. Have guests get a COVID-19 diagnostic test and self-quarantine before the gathering. Check out a membership with Mira to get a COVID-19 diagnostic test.
  8. Wear masks when not eating.
  9. Postpone your Thanksgiving celebration until after the release of a vaccine.

 

Sources: 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html#thanksgiving

https://buffalonews.com/news/how-do-you-do-black-friday-if-crowds-spread-covid-19-heres-the-plan/article_0c70ff08-07f0-11eb-8de4-bf2b91ea8381.html

https://www.digitaltrends.com/dtdeals/black-friday-deals/

https://www.woodlandstreehouse.com/child-development/3-ways-to-celebrate-thanksgiving-with-kids

https://www.leadingage.org/regulation/cdc-and-state-guidance-thanksgiving-travel-and-gatherings

https://www.businessinsider.com/cuomo-prohibits-gatherings-larger-than-10-2020-11

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