How to Have a Safe and Healthy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2020

Right now, in many areas of the country, COVID-19 rates are starting to surge again,” says Dr. Tina Tan, pediatric infectious disease specialist at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Even though Thanksgiving should be a time for vacations, family gatherings and group celebrations, this year we need to be focus on health and safety.

Holiday Gatherings and Celebrations

The CDC explains that celebrating virtually or with members of your own household poses lowest risk and is generally a safer option. In-person gatherings pose varying levels of risk. While it is not recommended, if you will be attending or hosting an event this holiday season, there are some precautions that can be taken to make it safer.


  • Remind guests to stay home if they or anyone they have contact with is sick.
  • Host events outdoors if possible and encourage social distancing.
  • Greet guests without physical contact, instead wave and verbally greet them.
  • Have guests wear masks indoors if you cannot remain 6 feet apart.
  • Arrange tables so households can sit together and remain 6 feet apart from other tables
  • Provide sanitizing stations.
  • Encourage everyone to wash their hands often and provide single-use paper towels instead of hand towels.
  • Consider dedicating one server or one server per station to reduce contact points.
  • Disinfect commonly touched surfaces often.
  • Thoroughly wash and sanitize any reusable items after the event, such as table cloths or seating covers.


  • Stay home if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, if you are waiting for COVID-19 test results or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  • Contact the host before attending the event to make sure they have precautions in place and are following the most up to date guidelines.
  • Stay within your local area if possible and prioritize outdoor events over indoor events.
  • Bring extra supplies with you to keep you and others healthy, such as disposable masks and hand sanitizer.
  • Consider arriving early to avoid peak times that make social distancing difficult.
  • Be mindful and limit your contact with others and commonly touched surfaces.
  • Sanitize and wash your hands often and avoid touching your face.

Lower Risk Activities

As stated by the CDC, hosting or attending or events does come with risks. The following activities are considered lower risk and may be a better option this holiday season:

  • Having a small dinnerwith only people who live in your household
  • Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others
  • Having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family
  • Shopping online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving or the next Monday
  • Watching sports events, parades, and movies from home

We understand that this is a difficult time for many people and choosing whether to visit family or stay home is stressful. Regardless of your decision, taking the precautions outlined by the CDC can help keep you and others safe this Thanksgiving. For more information and guidance, click here!

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