family Thanksgiving dinner

How to safely celebrate Thanksgiving during COVID-19

As the holiday season approaches, and the community makes plans to observe traditions in a way that may look different from years past, CHOC experts provide the following recommendations for how to celebrate Thanksgiving safely amid COVID-19.

“Family traditions during the holiday season are a treasured part of childhood, and we want all families to enjoy this special season, but it’s important to do so in a safe way,” says Melanie Patterson, CHOC’s vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer. “After months of living through the COVID-19 pandemic, people may be inclined to make exceptions to the safety precautions we’ve all been encouraged to follow, but during this season we must remain vigilant in doing our part to curb the spread of COVID-19.”

These recommendations are meant to supplement, rather than replace, any local or statewide regulations.

Celebrate with your household

The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate with people in your own household.

Watch Thanksgiving Day parades, sports and movies at home.

If getting a head start on holiday shopping is typically part of your Thanksgiving weekend plans, opt for online sales or use contactless pickup options.

Celebrate virtually with others

Use technology such as FaceTime, Zoom or Skype to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with loved ones who don’t live in your household. Consider sharing recipes between family members and friends ahead of time, and cooking each of your meals together over video chat.

Children can also use video chat to do a festive craft project with cousins and friends outside their household.

Or, have a virtual, interactive watch party for your favorite holiday movie using Netflix Party or Disney+’s GroupWatch. These services allow you to synchronize your show or movie with friends and family, and chat while you’re watching.

Virtual celebrations can include gratitude activities, such as making lists of what you’re grateful for, and sharing them with friends and family.

Celebrating virtually is especially important if you are celebrating with family members over the age of 65, or those who are immunocompromised and have underlying conditions that put them at greater risk of complications from COVID-19.

Festive outdoor celebrations

As temperatures begin to dip in Southern California, be sure to dress warmly before engaging in any physically distant outdoor activities. Consider a nature scavenger hunt, apple picking, hiking or taking a drive through a neighborhood near you that may have gotten a jump-start on holiday décor.

Thanksgiving travel

Traveling can increase your chance of getting or spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and your family.

The California Department of Public Health issued a travel advisory Nov. 13, urging visitors to California or residents returning home from non-essential travel to self-quarantine for 14 days and limit their interactions to their immediate household, in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

If you travel this holiday, follow these guidelines:

  • Check travel restrictions for your destination before you go. Some states require visitors from certain parts of the country to quarantine upon arrival.
  • Get a flu shot before you travel. This year more than ever, it is important to get a flu shot to offer as much protection as possible from influenza.
  • Wear a face covering in public
  • Practice physical distancing
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer
  • Bring extra supplies, including masks and hand sanitizer
Get more information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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