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CDC Begins Issuing Holiday Coronavirus Guidelines, Recommends ‘Virtual Thanksgiving’
Turkey in roasting pan on table for holiday meal
Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began issuing coronavirus-prevention guidelines for the holiday season Monday, instructing Americans on how to protect themselves from contracting COVID-19 in the final months of 2020.

According to the CDC, Americans would be best off having a “virtual Thanksgiving” with their families, staying away from large gatherings, and having “small meals” at home, while connecting with parents and grandparents over the Internet.

“Thanksgiving is less than two months away and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has put out guidance on how to stay safe this holiday during the coronavirus pandemic. In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the CDC is recommending families who usually travel to see each other hold virtual Thanksgivings instead,” CBS News reports. “Since travel increases the chance of coronavirus transmission, staying at home is the best way to prevent the spread, the CDC says. For those who must travel during the pandemic, the CDC has a list of potential risks and how to protect yourself and others.”

If you really must cook, the CDC recommends sharing recipes so that everyone can have a similar meal or cooking in your home kitchen and dropping off food to friends and neighbors in a contact-free way. The CDC suggests dropping dishes off on doorsteps.

Where that’s not possible, the CDC suggests having a “small dinner outside” — an option available to residents of warmer regions but perhaps not to colder states, where winter begins to set in right around the time Thanksgiving rolls around. If you do opt for the “outdoor dinner,” though, the CDC recommends that everyone who attends be screened for COVID-19 and that all guests abide by its longstanding coronavirus prevention guidelines, social distance, and wear masks when closer than 6 feet from each other.

As far as Black Friday shopping, where it’s available — many stores, including typical big-box retailers, are opting to limit sales — the CDC seems to recommend staying home rather than tangling with rabid holiday shoppers who crowd store lobbies at all hours Friday morning. Cyber Monday, the agency suggests, will have similar deals for those who prefer “socially distanced” shopping.

“The CDC also named higher risk activities, which people should avoid to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Going shopping in crowded stores, attending a race or parade, or attending any large indoor gatherings with people outside your household are not recommended,” CBS News adds.

And perhaps most importantly, the CDC recommends avoiding drinking alcohol, which could impair judgment and lead to social distancing violations.

Although the measures seem draconian, they may be a welcome relief for some Americans, particularly in light of the upcoming presidential election. In years past, largely left-leaning organizations have encouraged Thanksgiving table political confrontations, demanding that left-of-center voters challenge supporters of President Donald Trump over their turkey and mashed potatoes. That’s much harder to do over Zoom.

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