November 30, 2020
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Vital Signs: Planning your COVID-19 Thanksgiving

By Anika Pruthi
Staff Writer

We’ve had to reschedule, postpone and recreate many experiences lately. As Thanksgiving approaches, public health officials have a few tips for families to safely celebrate the holiday:

Host a virtual meal with family and friends to maintain some traditions of Thanksgiving (Envato Elements).

Host a small gathering, but quarantine first

It can be hard to spend the holidays without the comfort of the family that inspires gratitude. Yet, we cannot underestimate the risk of contracting Covid-19 from private get-togethers. Homes can account for 70 percent of transmission in some areas, even with community precautions in place. Limiting the number of guests is important in your gathering or celebration of Thanksgiving to decrease chances of catching or potentially spreading the virus.

Participate in a gratitude activity

This is a Thanksgiving activity to help improve your psychological health. In these times, it can be hard to find activities that reduce stress. It can also seem difficult to have hope. Taking the time to write down a few things you are thankful for can help. According to NPR, there have been many studies that have found gratitude journals to be stress-relieving and important in improving relationships. Working on a gratitude list or journal can offer a new perspective on what really matters.

Wear masks

If you would like to invite a small number of guests, you can lower the risk of transmission with a mask that has two or more layers secured over your nose and mouth. All masks should be encouraged when not eating, as they block the release of exhaled respiratory particles

Reduce travel

Even with the increased cleaning precautions with airlines, staying home is the best way to protect yourself. If you do travel, maintain the CDC procedures of wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet apart from others, continuously washing your hands and bringing extra supplies of masks and hand sanitizers.

Host a virtual Thanksgiving meal with friends and family

Take the time to share recipes or even play games over Zoom to maintain the idea of bonding that is sacred to Thanksgiving. If the games are the competitive kind, it can’t hurt to have a virtual “Great British Bake-Off” style competition for a classic pumpkin pie or apple crumble to have an afternoon full of laughs. As for games, there are many options, such as Psych or Cards Against Humanity, that can contribute to an afternoon full of fun.

Shop for sales

Black Friday is another experience that is being recreated given the typical crowded areas and long lines. Many department stores have already announced their brief closure on Black Friday in an effort to reduce the spread of Covid-19. As an alternative to going to the store, look into weeklong discounts online that some retailers may be offering. You may also be able to locally pick up gifts for your early shopping, but remember to take precautions.

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