• Thanksgiving 2020, because of the coronavirus pandemic, is going to be a lot different from the family-heavy, meal-sharing get-togethers of years past.
  • Large indoor gatherings have been responsible for many of the large coronavirus outbreaks in recent months seen around the US.
  • Accordingly, the CDC is recommending that if people do celebrate with other family members for Thanksgiving, any gatherings should take place outside.

The next big holiday that public health experts are worried about is just around the corner — days away, in fact. Obviously, the Thanksgiving 2020 edition is going to look and feel dramatically different to those in years past, and experts like White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci are already concerned about what this year’s version will entail because of what’s tended to follow holidays this year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Small group gatherings at home, among families that are socially intimate with each other — hugging, seated together around a dinner table, and the like — especially worry experts who have been preaching for months the value of social distancing, wearing face masks, and avoiding group settings.

The CDC has published updated guidance on how Americans can stay safe during the Thanksgiving holiday this year — something that Fauci himself has warned that people might have to forgo this year. “You may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering,” Fauci said during an interview with CBS News. “Unless you’re pretty certain that the people that you’re dealing with are not infected either.”

The CDC’s Thanksgiving safety recommendations include the following:

  • Have a small outdoor meal with family and friends who live in your community.
  • Limit the number of guests.
  • Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
  • If celebrating indoors, make sure to open windows.
  • Limit the number of people in food preparation areas.
  • Have guests bring their own food and drink.
  • If sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils.

Of course, the agency also stresses that “the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate with people in your household.”

Surges in coronavirus case totals have tended to follow in the days after holidays this year, such as post-July 4th. Accordingly, Dr. Fauci said he’d be celebrating Thanksgiving this year alone with his wife, without his children.

“My Thanksgiving is going to look very different this year,” Fauci explained. “I would love to have it with my children, but my children are in three separate states throughout the country, and in order for them to get here, they would all have to go to an airport, get on a plane, and travel with public transportation. They themselves, because of their concern for me and my age, have decided they’re not going to come home for Thanksgiving, even though all three of them want very much to come home for Thanksgiving.”

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.