You May Want to Rethink Thanksgiving Travel, According to the CDC's List of Guidelines

As much as we love connecting with friends and family on Thanksgiving, the coronavirus pandemic might mean smaller get-togethers this year. (Heck, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade isn't even allowing spectators!) Recently, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its guidelines regarding popular Thanksgiving activities, giving each one a low-, moderate-, or high-risk ranking.

"Thanksgiving is a time when many families travel long distances to celebrate together. Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19," reads the CDC's website. "Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. If you must travel, be informed of the risks involved."

Ahead, get a look at what the CDC considers to be low-, moderate-, and high-risk Thanksgiving activities, whether you're having a small dinner with your immediate family or considering traveling to see your relatives.

Low-Risk Thanksgiving Activities

To curb the spread of COVID-19, parents should consider celebrating with their immediate family only. Of course, FaceTiming grandma is way less fun than actually being able to hug her, but safety is the top priority. Here are some low-risk activities your family can engage in, according to the CDC:

  • Having a small dinner with 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

Moderate-Risk Thanksgiving Activities

Understandably, parents should do their research before, say, going to pick apples at a local farm. However, many beloved outdoor fall activities are fair game, as long as the visitors are socially distanced, use hand sanitizer, and wear cloth face masks. Here are the activities the CDC considers to carry a moderate risk:

  • Having a small outdoor dinner with family and friends who live in your community. (Take a peek at the CDC's recommendations for hosting gatherings or cookouts for guidance!).
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing
  • Attending a small outdoor sports events with safety precautions in place

High-Risk Thanksgiving Activities

To keep your family safe and healthy this holiday season, it's best to steer clear of crowded places, especially if they're indoors. The CDC recommends avoiding the following Thanksgiving activities this year:

  • Going shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving
  • Participating or being a spectator at a crowded race
  • Attending crowded parades
  • Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors
  • Attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household