Is It Safe to Host Thanksgiving Dinner Amid COVID-19?

September 21, 2020
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    Six months into the coronavirus pandemic, families will soon be faced with how to handle the upcoming holiday season.

    With Thanksgiving two months away, many are wondering if it is safe to host the traditional family meal as COVID-19 continues to spike around the country.

    Since the holiday will most likely look different than in prior years, medical experts have weighed in with advice on how to keep everyone safe while still enjoying all the fixings.

    Sharon Nachman, division chief for Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Stony Brook Children's Hospital, said it starts with deciding who you are inviting.

    "So essentially you want sort of a good idea of if everyone is being careful before you start your event," Nachman told Delish. "The last thing you want to do is have someone that's completely not careful mixing with someone who's incredibly careful because they have to be."

    This is also not the year to invite everyone and their mother-in-law. Keep it small as it will be easier on your wallet and your anxiety levels.

    The same general rules people have been adhering to in recent months should also be followed at the holiday. Those protocols include wearing face masks, staying at least six feet away from people not in your household, as well as frequent handwashing.

    Those with backyards and milder climates should also look into setting up their dinner outside, as it’s generally considered safer than indoor spaces.

    Other things to consider include staggering eating times and being creative with how you serve and seat people, especially if anyone is in a high-risk group.

    To avoid crowding at tables, she suggests plating everyone’s food for them, using disposable utensils and offering up more individual items, if possible.

    And since every family and situation is different, it’s most important to stay informed with the news in your area and to plan out the day and weekend.

    "If they're eating and then leaving right afterwards, that's one set of things to think about and one set of planned events,” Nachman said. “Then if they're sleeping over you need to think about, well, who's sleeping where? Are you sanitizing the surfaces? What are you doing about that?"

    Regardless of what steps you take, it is crucial to not get overwhelmed and to know that you can accomplish having an enjoyable and safe holiday.

    Nachman added: "It really gets down to a lot of planning, but it's doable planning."

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