Thanksgiving During The Time Of COVID-19: What To Do?

Thanksgiving During The Time Of COVID-19: What To Do?

In the middle of disagreements about mask wearing, reopening businesses, and social distancing, there is a new debate to be had: Thanksgiving 2020. Will you fly across the country and spend time with family members who you haven’t seen in ten months, or stay home? If you make the decision to gather with family, will everyone wear masks? What are the rules and how safe is this family-oriented holiday this year?

If everyone in the family wanted to get together for Thanksgiving, they would’ve had to start quarantining already. Staying home for 14 days prior to Thanksgiving, not going anywhere except for essential items, would be the safest way to go about gathering for Thanksgiving. And even then, there are some risk factors to consider. Ultimately, this is a frustrating time, and you may have to simply postpone the gathering until next year. 

Experts Advise Against Thanksgiving Gatherings

COVID-19 numbers are increasing and infectious disease specialists agree that cases will surge during the holidays. People have the itch to see family on these classic holidays, and improper safety protocol can turn innocent dinners into super spreader events. Holiday gatherings like Thanksgiving are indoors because of cold weather. Additionally, the inevitability of close contact and shared items contributes to increased risk of COVID-19 transmission.

How To Confront Family About Your Decision

Gender, age, political party preference, and education all play a role in how seriously people take the coronavirus. Some family members may live more carefree, while others have isolated throughout the pandemic. For these reasons, there may be controversy around the Thanksgiving holiday. Some family members will simply not attend and others will refuse to have a virtual dinner. Please understand that these decisions won’t be made lightly. There’s no need to hold grudges over someone’s decision to stay safe and healthy. It’s not ideal, but understand that family safety trumps gathering for a holiday that comes every year. If you’re still unsure about how to navigate Thanksgiving, perhaps the following tips can offer guidance. 

Think About What Makes You Uncomfortable

Before you even have the Thanksgiving conversation with family, determine where you’re at in relation to traveling and being around other people. Are you fine with Thanksgiving that only involves immediate family, or does the thought of that scare you? A low-risk Thanksgiving may only include the people in your immediate household, and perhaps your parents if they live nearby and you’ve been seeing them throughout the pandemic. High-risk gatherings include family members from across the country or from areas with high case rates. Most of the infections take place in small family or friend gatherings, including dinners or hangouts. One asymptomatic person could ruin the entire holiday. So, assess your comfort level before making your decision, and be comfortable and confident in whatever you decide; your family will understand.

Start The Conversation Now

Do you normally have a large gathering for Thanksgiving? Some relatives may just assume that you are either hosting or coming to Thanksgiving, depending on what you typically do. If you aren’t going to get together with family this year, start those conversations now because it’s better to talk it out ahead of time, as opposed to waiting until the last minute. 

Be Prepared For Hate

The Thanksgiving conversation may head south quickly. If the person or people you speak with start to get irritated or upset, simply tell them that you are ending the conversation to avoid an argument. It’s completely natural for people to object your decision, whatever it may be, because it isn’t routine. Don’t fight about Thanksgiving because some arguments may outlive the pandemic. 

It’s important to do your part this holiday season to limit the spread of COVID-19 because cases will skyrocket without a doubt. Have conversations with family members and understand that this year presents unusual circumstances. Don’t cut ties with a cousin or aunt because they don’t want to travel. The COVID-19 situation is very concerning in many states, so extend love as much as possible in these strange and trying times. Avoid resentment, send love, and accept whatever decisions you and your family members make this holiday season.