CDC Issues Guidance for Thanksgiving Gatherings

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidance for families across the country and the world regarding the safest way to celebrate this year. These precautions come as public health officials in the U.S. announced more than 160,000 new COVID-19 cases on November 12, the first day over 150,000 since the pandemic began.

According to the CDC, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate with people in your household. If you do plan to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, the following steps are recommended make your celebration safer.

Wear a Mask

  • Wear a mask with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
  • Make sure the mask fits snugly against the sides of your face.

Socially Distance

  • Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread COVID-19.
  • Keeping six feet from others is especially important.

Wash Your Hands

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Keep hand sanitizer with you and use it when you are unable to wash your hands.
  • Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Attending a Gathering

According to the CDC, taking these additional steps while attending a Thanksgiving gathering can help to make the holiday safer.

  • Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups and utensils.
  • Wear a mask, and safely store your mask while eating and drinking.
  • Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen.
  • Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates and utensils.

Hosting a Gathering

If having guests to your home, the CDC recommends the following steps to make the holiday safer:

  • Have a small outdoor meal with family and friends who live in your community.
  • Limit the number of guests.
  • Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
  • If celebrating indoors, make sure to open windows.
  • Limit the number of people in food preparation areas.
  • Have guests bring their own food and drink.
  • If sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils.

Thanksgiving Travel

The CDC has concluded that travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19, and therefore recommends staying home to protect yourself and others.

If You Do Travel
  • Check travel restrictions before you go.
  • Get your flu shot before you travel.
  • Always wear a mask in public settings and on public transportation.
  • Stay at least six feet apart from anyone who is not in your household.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Bring extra supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer.

Consider Other Thanksgiving Activities

  • Host a virtual Thanksgiving meal with friends and family who don’t live with you.
  • Watch television and play games with people in your household.
  • Shop online, utilize curbside pickup or browse and an open-air market.
  • Write down things you are grateful for and share with your friends and family.

On November 6, the LifeSpire of Virginia management team issued guidance on how the holiday season will be handled. Since then, each LifeSpire of Virginia community team issued community-specific plans for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

Detailed plans per community are as follows:

The Chesapeake
The Culpeper
The Glebe

Please note these plans are subject to change at any time and in consultation with the Virginia Department of Health and per CDC guidance.