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How to Keep Thanksgiving from Becoming a COVID Super Spreader Event

COVID-19 cases are on the rise again, dramatically. Still, many Americans will go ahead with…

  • November 20, 2020

COVID-19 cases are on the rise again, dramatically. Still, many Americans will go ahead with their Thanksgiving gathering plans. The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) recommends that holiday hosts and guests prioritize efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and take steps to protect the health and safety of friends and family.

Emergency physicians recommend everyone heed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s holiday safety recommendations this year.

Remember anyone can get or spread COVID-19. Close friends and family with whom you don’t live with can still contract and spread the virus to you the same way a stranger could.

Trim the guest list. Rather than a specified “safe” number of guests, public health experts suggest that hosts determine the size of a gathering by how many guests from different households can remain at least six feet apart.

Note that a “household” is made of people who live in the same house every day. Family members who are close but don’t live at home, such as college students visiting for the holiday, are considered a separate household in public health terms.

Cover your face and maintain your distance. It may be difficult but try to avoid hugs and handshakes. People should also cover their face when they are not eating or drinking.

Stay outside and stay safer. If it is possible, hosting a small event outside instead of inside is preferable.

Encourage good hygiene. Hosts should make sure that bathrooms have plenty of soap so guests can frequently wash their hands and single-use towels.

While there are precautions you can take this holiday season, the safest option for some will be to stay home.

Do not attend an in-person gathering if you or anyone in your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and has not met the CDC’s criteria for when it is safe to be around others.

Stay home if you show symptoms, if you are waiting for COVID-19 test results, or if you have been exposed to somebody with COVID-19 in the last 14 days.

Read more about COVID-19 and Thanksgiving safety at