Thanksgiving is a holiday entirely about getting together with family and friends, sharing food and drink and fond remembrances. With Blaine County’s COVID-19 transmission risk at the “critical” designation and cases and hospitalizations on the rise throughout the state, many local celebrations are certain to take on a different look and feel this year.

For those planning Thanksgiving festivities, the federal Centers for Disease Control has several recommendations for safe proceedings, beginning with the constant guidelines urging citizens to wear face coverings while around others outside your own household, maintaining six feet of physical distance from others, and washing your hands thoroughly and frequently.

If attending an indoor Thanksgiving celebration at a household other than your own, the CDC recommends the following precautions:

  • 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.

If you’re hosting a Thanksgiving gathering with people from other households, the CDC makes the following recommendations:

  • 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 you’re 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 you’re sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils.

The CDC stresses that staying home is “the best way to protect yourself and others.” But, for those with plans to travel, health officials suggest getting a flu shot prior to the trip, social distancing with anyone who is not in your household, always wearing a mask while in public settings and on public transportation, bringing extra masks and hand sanitizer, and checking travel restriction and quarantine requirements for your home area and your destination.

Health officials also urge Americans to plan alternative approaches to celebrating the holiday, even if they are less orthodox. Consider hosting a virtual meal, video chatting with family and friends; explore options for syncing up televised sporting events, favorite movies or parades to watch together while in separate locations; or, share recipes and cooking techniques with each other.

All these recommendations and more can be found online at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/thanksgiving.html.

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