As a result of the current pandemic, holiday celebrations must now change drastically to allow for safer interactions with family and friends. Although these celebrations will be very different from years past, there are a variety of safe alternatives to celebrating Thanksgiving varying from the traditional methods.
According to the CDC, there are multiple factors that can contribute to the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 during small gatherings. Some of these factors include the location of the gathering, exposure during travel, the behavior of attendees during and after the gathering, as well as the duration and number of people at the gathering. Because of these risk factors, it is recommended that masks are required by guests, gatherings occur in well-ventilated areas (or preferably outdoors), everyone stays six feet apart or more, and that community levels of COVID are considered.
One safe way to celebrate with family and friends is to communicate with them virtually while celebrating with the family members who live in the same household. According to Rick Kitamura, a history teacher at Turlock High School, he states, “This Thanksgiving I will be thankful for having a safe and healthy family. I will be watching football in the safety of my home and enjoying being with those family members that currently live with me. I will be contacting other relatives and friends via phone, text, email, and zoom.” Like Kitamura, many people should consider having a similar celebration where communication with relatives is virtual. This would ensure that everyone stays safe and healthy by lowering the risk of getting and spreading COVID, especially if one has family members who are elderly or have a higher risk of contracting the virus as a result of health issues.
As proposed by Michael Sullivan in the article “How to Celebrate Thanksgiving During the Pandemic”, another way to celebrate this upcoming holiday is to ditch the traditional Thanksgiving dinner and help those in need. As Sullivan states, “Consider volunteering your time or donating money to an organization or charity that’s meaningful to you in lieu of having a big feast…You can also donate your time by checking in on elderly neighbors and offering to run their errands.” If one is considering volunteering to help run errands for others, they must also make sure that they wear a mask and take other precautions necessary to ensure that others, as well as themselves, stay in good health. Some examples of local organizations and charities one could donate to are the United Samaritans Foundation located at 220 S Broadway, Turlock CA as well as Turlock’s We Care Program, located at 221 S Broadway, Turlock, CA, both of which accept different forms of donations and offer services to those in need.
Regardless of how one is planning to celebrate the upcoming holidays with loved ones, it is always important to take special precautions to ensure that everyone stays safe and healthy during these difficult times. Wearing a mask, social distancing, and staying hygienic are all important factors that should be taken into consideration when planning holiday celebrations or any other type of gathering. It is crucial that everyone works together in preventing the spread of COVID-19 as well as keeping loved ones and our community safe and healthy during the upcoming holiday season.