Jessica Fisher

Celebrating Thanksgiving during a Pandemic

Jessica Fisher, Public Information Assistant, 509.625.6749

Monday, November 16, 2020 at 5:11 p.m.

Celebrating Thanksgiving during a Pandemic

Thanksgiving is just around the corner! As you celebrate during the coronavirus pandemic, here are some tips on how to celebrate safely.

Many traditional Thanksgiving activities like attending or hosting a Thanksgiving gathering are simply high-risk for spreading coronavirus. In fact, until Dec. 14, our state has prohibited indoor social gatherings with people outside a household unit unless people quarantine for 14 days or quarantine for 7 days and receive a negative test result for COVID-19.

The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate with your household unit. We can get creative and find new ways to celebrate.

Thanksgiving Gathering Alternatives

Here are some fun ideas if you are looking for safe Thanksgiving gathering alternatives.

  • Prepare Thanksgiving dishes and deliver them to family and friends who are high risk. You can leave the dishes on their front porch!
  • Have a remote potluck. Assign dishes to friends and family then deliver them to one another’s home.
  • Share your favorite recipe with friends and family. You can even hold a virtual cooking class.
  • Have a pie baking contest and drop off slices of pie to your judges. You can even have a virtual tasting and award a winner!
  • Schedule a time to share a meal together virtually.
  • Watch Thanksgiving Day parades, sports and movies at home.
  • Play football with your household unit.
  • Find an indoor game to play.
  • Practice a gratitude activity, like writing down things you are thankful for and sharing the list with your family and friends.
  • Send cards to people in your life about why you are grateful for them.
  • Shop online locally rather than in person on Shop Local Saturday.

If you do plan to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household unit, take steps to make your celebration safer.

  • Wear a mask to stop the spread of COVID-19. Make sure the mask fits snugly against the sides of your face and covers both your mouth and nose.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from those outside of your household unit.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you are unable to wash your hands, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • And, in all cases, if you have COVID-19, may have COVID-19, have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days, or are waiting on COVID-19 test results, you should not participate in any in-person Thanksgiving activities.

So, now you’re wearing your mask, staying 6 feet apart and washing your hands frequently, what else should you do?

Tips for a Gathering

If you choose to host or attend a Thanksgiving gathering here are some additional safety tips.

  • Limit the number of guests. Social gatherings with people outside your household unit is prohibited unless people quarantine for 14 days or for seven days and get a negative COVID-19 test.
  • Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
  • Avoid having guests go in in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled.
  • Have guests bring their own food, drinks, plates, cups and utensils.
  • If sharing food, have one person serve all the food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils.
  • Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates, and utensils.
  • Open windows or doors to increase ventilation.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between uses.
  • Offer no-touch trash cans for guests to easily throw away food items.
  • Keep your gatherings short and sweet. Gatherings that last longer pose more risk than shorter gatherings.
Tips for Safe Thanksgiving Travel

Traveling 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.
  • Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Bring extra supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer.
Tips for Staying Overnight or Hosting Overnight Guests

Consider whether you, someone you live with, or anyone you plan to visit with is at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, to determine whether to stay overnight in the same residence or to stay elsewhere.

  • Visitors should wash their clothing and mask, and stow luggage away from common areas.
  • Improve ventilation by opening windows and doors or placing central air and heating on continuous circulation.
  • Monitor hosts and guests for COVID-19 symptoms and have a plan if someone becomes sick.

If you develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 within 14 days of your Thanksgiving celebrations, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, or if you test positive for COVID-19, immediately notify all the attendees. Contact your health care provider and follow the CDC recommended steps for what to do if you become sick.

We wish you and your family a SAFE Thanksgiving! For additional Thanksgiving safety tips visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Washington State Department of Health, and Spokane Regional Health District websites.

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