Everything about 2020 has looked exceptionally different from 2019. The right thing to do has been a stressor in every American household as the holidays approach and the pandemic rages on. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has put out guidelines that most American’s are taking as suggestive. While they are suggestive, they are not meant to be taken lightly.
Here are tips presented by the CDC to keep you and your family safe:
Taking your gatherings outside
Look at community transmission
Limit the duration of gatherings
Put a cap on the number of people attending
Assess your guest’s behavior in recent weeks
Wear your mask
Be vigilant about hand hygiene
If you are spending Thanksgiving in Missouri, we are being welcomed with some mild November weather this coming Thursday- sunny with highs in the mid-fifties. The CDC suggests taking advantage of this weather and moving your gathering to the outdoors. We saw a major decrease in Covid-19 cases this summer as everyone was able to gather outdoors. This is a strong indication that being in the open air decreases the chances of spreading and contracting the virus. So, get everyone out on the back deck, make some space in your garage (with the doors open), and spread those guests out.
Before having twenty of your closest friends and family over for your typical Thanksgiving the CDC suggests looking at the Transmission rate in your community. Again, if staying in Missouri consider what is going on in your community and where your guests are coming from. If you are in Springfield, and your friend’s nephew’s cousin from St. Louis decided to pop in for some desert, you may caution against this as areas such as Kansas City and St. Louis are seeing larger spikes than the Springfield area. Note: This is not to say Springfield has a low transmission rate- just lower than the bigger Missouri cities.
If your Thanksgiving guests are local, try cutting the time of your gathering in half. According to the CDC article found on healthline.com, “How sick a person gets with COVID-19 largely depends on how much of the virus they were exposed to and how long they were exposed”. Either pre-establish a come and go time or have a later dinner time. If you are used to having a late lunch/early dinner on Thanksgiving, try moving it back a couple of hours to cut back on the time the entire gathering lasts. Even if your Thanksgiving goes from a full day affair to a couple of hours, be mindful that it is in everyone’s best interest.
Another way to keep your family safe this coming Thursday is to limit the number of people attending your gathering- basically what the CDC and WHO have been saying from the get-go. The more guests you have attending, the greater the risk of exposure. While nobody wants their loved ones to be alone for the holidays, capping your gatherings at 10 people is what the CDC considers a safe amount. While Kansas City and St. Louis have established a new city ordinance restricting all gatherings to 10 guests or less, Springfield does not. If you will be having 10+ people at your Thanksgiving, ensure there is enough room for proper distancing.
If limiting your number of guests is harder than it seems, it is important to be aware of what your guests have been up to the past couple of weeks. If you have kids or guests that are in the social years of their life, think: college age to early 30’s, it's important to assess their recent activities. As hard as it could be, if said guests have not been abiding by safety guidelines, it is okay to tell them to stay home to decrease the chance of spreading COVID-19. Let's look back at your friends nephews cousin that decided to crash Thanksgiving this year, if he went to Wheel House last weekend with his friends, it may be wise to ask him to stay home or stick him outside.
Establishing distance and mask wearing in you home on Thanksgiving are two of the best ways to keep your friends and family safe. Wearing a mask inside your own home may not be ideal, but then again, nothing about 2020 is ideal. If you and your guests safely wear masks during your gathering, this could allow for some normalcy. While partaking in activities where you cannot wear a mask, such as eating, try spacing everyone out (again, this is where the great outdoors come in). However, if you are participating in activities such as playing games, still try remaining a safe distance but also keep those masks on.
Keeping your hands clean has been one of the main safety tips throughout the duration of this pandemic. While it is still very important, as a host, it may be exhausting trying to keep track of everyone’s personal hygiene. To make things easier, the CDC suggests keeping areas with high-touching traffic sanitized throughout the course of your gathering. This includes doorknobs, remotes, counter tops, backs of chairs, the refrigerator door, etc. As for setting out hors d’oeuvre’s, you may consider leaving those out this year… that is a lot of hand-and-mouth traffic.
If Thanksgiving 2020 is looking different this year, you are not alone. Everyone is having to adjust to keep their loved ones safe. We at Scott Loveland Insurance hope that this post finds you well and is helpful for anyone attending or planning a Thanksgiving gathering. Be mindful, take advantage of the mild weather, and have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving.