Thanksgiving: The official kickoff of the holiday season in the United States. Most of us have become accustomed to the same old routine over the years, but 2020 decided to spice things up a little. Rest assured, you can still chow down on your turkey, dressing, and pecan pie. On the downside, however, there may be fewer hugs from relatives…
With the rise in COVID-19 numbers across the nation, many are skeptical about attending Thanksgiving ‘20. While their concerns are very real and justified, there is hope. The Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has recommended that gatherings be limited to small groups for the lowest level of risk.
We have compiled a few tips provided by the CDC in order to make your favorite “food holiday” possible while being responsible:
Remind guests to stay at home if they are sick
– Remind guests to stay at home if they have been exposed to COVID-19 in the last 14 days or are showing COVID-19 symptoms. Anyone who has had close contact with a person who has COVID-19 should also stay home and monitor their health. Invited guests who live with those at higher risk should also consider the potential risk to their loved ones.
Encourage social distancing
– Host your gathering outdoors, when possible. If this is not feasible, make sure the room or space is well-ventilated (for example, open a window).
– Arrange tables and chairs to allow for social distancing. People from the same household can be in groups together and don’t need to be 6 feet apart – just 6 feet away from other families.
– If planning activities for adults and/or kids, consider those where social distancing can be maintained, like sidewalk chalk art or frisbee.
– When guests arrive, minimize gestures that promote close contact. For example, don’t shake hands, do elbow bumps, or give hugs. Instead wave and verbally greet them.
– Wear masks when less than 6 feet apart from people or indoors.
– Consider providing masks for guests or asking them to bring their own.
Clean hands often
– Consider providing hand sanitizer in addition to clearly marked hand washing areas.
– Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds when entering and exiting social gatherings. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
– Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
– Make sure there is adequate soap or hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol available in the restrooms and encourage guests not to form a line at the door. Consider also providing cleaning supplies that allow guests to wipe down surfaces before they leave.
– Remind guests to wash their hands before serving or eating food.
– Use single-use hand towels or paper towels for drying hands so guests do not share a towel.
Limit the number of people handling or serving food
– Encourage guests to bring their own food and drinks.
– Limit people going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen or around the grill, if possible.
– If serving any food, consider identifying one person to serve all food so that multiple people are not handling the serving utensils.
– Use single-use options or identify one person to serve sharable items, like salad dressings, food containers, and condiments, so that multiple people are not handling the items.
Limit contact with commonly touched surfaces or shared items
– Use touchless garbage cans or pails.
– Use gloves when removing garbage bags or handling and disposing of trash. Wash hands after removing gloves.
– Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and any shared items between use when feasible.
– If you choose to use any shared items that are reusable (e.g., seating covers, tablecloths, linen napkins), wash, clean, and sanitize them after the event.
Following these steps will not totally prevent the risk, but it will certainly decrease the likelihood of issues arising. It has been strongly recommended to attend virtually if possible, although the turkey may not taste as good. So whether you’re walking down the street, packing bags, or booting up the virtual meeting app, we ask that you be responsible this year and enjoy the occasion!