Tips for a Less Risky Thanksgiving

As we welcome another beautiful Autumn weekend, and Canadian Thanksgiving, it may be a good time for a reminder about how to enjoy the season while staying safe from a second wave of COVID-19. Many students are returning home from university for the long weekend and possibly reading week, and if they have been in close social contact with others, caution should be taken to protect older adults and loved ones with chronic health conditions.

It is common that students away from home have elected to create a small social bubble, but once home for the holidays, it is tempting to expand that hub to see old friends and risk exposing not only one another to the virus but family at home.  Some households have elected to avoid the risk altogether and host a virtual Thanksgiving dinner; cooking the same meal to be shared simultaneously through a video chat.  Others might order identical foods from a restaurant open for the holiday.

If the weather continues to be pleasant, moving the feast outdoors can minimize risk for vulnerable family members.   Check the weather and shift the date if necessary to accommodate an outdoor gathering where a small group of friends and family can share a meal, play some backyard games and even bring the television outdoors to enjoy a football game.  Plan ahead so everyone understands that masks will be worn indoors or in close contact and keep a bottle of hand sanitizer on each table.  Limit the group to under 10 people, avoid hugging and handshaking, and arrange tables to promote distancing.

If the weather doesn’t cooperate, a virtual game or movie night might have to suffice until a safe vaccine is widely available.  If people take care now, by Christmas, we might have a better chance of small in-person gatherings.  Hopefully, that will be the motivation enough to take precautions for a better shot at a slightly more normal winter holiday when outdoor gatherings are much less likely.

Here’s an Unambiguous Science infographic to help you share tips for a healthy holiday season.