Thanksgiving is a time when friends and families gather together to celebrate, often traveling to do so. But what exactly is safe to do this year during the coronavirus pandemic? The CDC released guidelines on how to handle holiday celebrations this year and their rules for turkey day necessitate that people stay vigilant when it comes to stopping the spread of the virus.

The first thing to note is that travel increases the risk for COVID-19. If you can, the CDC recommends staying home this year as the “best way to protect yourself and others.” If you must travel, be sure to read the guidelines on travel risk during COVID before setting out.


The following are the CDC’s categories for mitigating COVID risk during Thanksgiving:

Lower risk activities:

  • 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 activities:

  • Having a small outdoor dinner with family and friends who live in your community
  • 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

Higher risk activities:

Avoid these higher-risk activities to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19:

  • 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 judgment and increase risky behaviors
  • Attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household

And while the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be virtual this year, would you consider holding a virtual dinner rather than celebrating in-person? Will COVID-19 stop you from traveling to see relatives? Will you stop Black Friday deals online or head to the stores? Tell us in the comments below!

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