News & Opinion | October 16, 2020 10:42 am

CDC Issues Guidelines for Thanksgiving Celebrations

You should probably forego the big indoor family gathering this year

thanksgiving dinner
The CDC has issued guidelines for how to safely celebrate Thanksgiving this year. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)
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We’re still a few weeks away from Halloween, but under normal circumstances, it’d be time to start figuring out our Thanksgiving plans and booking travel. Of course, thanks to the pandemic, these are far from normal circumstances, and the CDC has issued some guidelines about the best ways to safely celebrate.

“Some people in this country are going to be able to have a relatively normal type of a Thanksgiving, but in other areas of the country, it’s going to be, ‘You better hold off and maybe just have immediate family, and make sure you do it in a way that people wear masks, and you don’t have large crowds of people,’” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN.”What we’re starting to see now — and we can’t run away from it — we’re starting to see in the Midwest and the Northwest, an uptick in test positivity, which tends to be a predictor that you’re going to have surges.” 

The CDC recommends limited gatherings this year for people who live in areas with high infection rates. The lowest risk scenario, the agency says, would be to limit your gathering to your own home with only members of your household. Celebrating with extended family virtually via Zoom also poses little to no risk. If you do decide to host a larger gathering, however, the CDC advises that it’s much safer to keep it outdoors; all attendees should also wear masks, observe social distancing and wash hands frequently.

And for those of us who are trying to weigh the risks of traveling home for the holidays to see our families, the CDC warns that “staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.” Fauci says it depends: “We’ve got to be careful,” he said during a recent discussion at American University. “You’ve got to take it as an individual case. It depends on where you are and where you are traveling.”