Celebrating Thanksgiving During COVID-19
As we approach Thanksgiving, health professionals are encouraging folks to modify their plans to reduce the spread of COVID-19. At the end of the day, though, how you celebrate the holidays with your family is a personal choice. These are very stressful and unique times, so everyone needs to weigh their own risks and do what makes the most sense for them and their communities.
But, we do want to make sure you have access to all the information available to be safe and healthy this Thanksgiving. Whether you’re planning on traveling this week or you’re considering a smaller celebration, we hope you find the below considerations helpful.
Here’s a quick rundown of recommendations for celebrating Thanksgiving this year. These are not regulations, laws, or guidelines. These are steps to protect yourself and your family as outlined by the CDC, with tips about using your Friday plan to stay healthy during the holidays.
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The safest choice this Thanksgiving
COVID-19 cases are surging across the country right now and it’s predicted we’ll see another spike during the holidays. The best way to keep your family, friends, and communities safe, according to health officials, is to celebrate at home with the people in your household. This includes family members and friends who live in your housing unit -- folks who have been taking the same measures as you to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Celebrate virtually with friends and extended family
While the idea of not seeing certain family members during the holidays is disheartening, this might be the year to celebrate virtually. Connect with family on FaceTime or Zoom throughout the day (Zoom is lifting it’s time limits on Thanksgiving day, so you can talk for as long as you please!). Schedule a group call and make sure you loop in grandma and grandpa!
Keep in mind that there’s a light at the end of this tunnel, with vaccines likely becoming approved and available in 2021. Hopefully this is the last Thanksgiving you’ll have to celebrate virtually with the people you love most in the world. Catch up with family over the phone this week and talk about all the amazing things you have to look forward to in the years ahead.
Traveling for Thanksgiving
The pandemic has been incredibly isolating and frustrating -- and we understand many will be traveling to see family this week.
Traveling on public transportation increases a person’s risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 by being in close contact with others for long periods of time. To reduce your risk, the CDC recommends wearing a mask during the entire process of traveling, including while waiting in security lines and busy airport terminals.
Although it’s tough to social distance the entire time, try to maintain six feet when you can. And make sure you wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
A few important tips to know when wearing a mask:
- Wear masks with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19
- Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
- Masks should be worn by people two years and older
Traveling to another state? Know the local health and safety laws before you go. You can find them here.
How to make your Thanksgiving safer
Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be an all or nothing event this year. In fact, there are many simple steps you can take to reduce the risk of infection at your gathering. Here are several of the CDC’s top recommendations:
- Celebrate outdoors (when possible): Keep the festivities outside on the porch or the backyard when possible. Get a fire going, bundle up in that cozy sweater you love, and drink some hot cider (hot cocoa for the kiddos!).
- Be safe before the gathering. In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, make sure your group is on the same page about precautions you’re all taking. It’s no fun having to police your loved ones’ behavior, but the worst thing would be getting surprised by something on Thanksgiving Day, when it’s too late.
- Get tested before the gathering. None of these safety measures are fool-proof, but if everyone gets tested beforehand that’s a step in the right direction. Importantly, folks should reduce their risk of exposure before and after getting tested.
- Keep the festivities shorter. One thing we know is that the more time you spend with someone, the greater your chances are of getting infected and spreading the virus. Rather than spending a full day with your group, keep it to cocktails and dinner.
- Wear masks. When you’re not eating that delicious pumpkin pie or sipping your glass of wine.
If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, you can make it safer by:
- Limiting the number of attendees as much as possible. Think: close family and those you trust the most (limit those visits from neighbors and friends).
- Keeping the festivities outside as much as possible (weather permitting)
- Increasing ventilation in your home by opening windows and doors to allow fresh air to circulate.
- Encouraging mask-wearing and handwashing. Hand out masks to your guests upon arrival and have hand sanitizer at the ready.
- Keeping all those extra cooks out of the kitchen. And, when you serve your guests, try to designate one person to serve all the food so that multiple people aren’t handling the serving utensils.
Friday Health Plans has you covered this holiday season
$0 COVID-19 Testing and Treatment
- Friday Health Plans will cover testing and treatment of COVID-19 at no cost to members -- no coinsurance and no copays.
- Friday members can get $0 Teladoc visits. Members can use Teladoc to speak with a doctor by phone or video 24/7 at no cost. Doctors can answer member’s questions about the coronavirus, evaluate their health risk, and support members to help relieve symptoms, addressing both physical and mental health.
Connect with a doctor virtually with Teladoc
Every Friday member can talk to a doctor by phone or live video at no cost through Teladoc. Doctors can answer questions about the coronavirus, evaluate your health risk and if you need medical testing provide support to help relieve symptoms, addressing both physical and mental health needs. Create a Teladoc account now.
- If you’re new to Teladoc, review the FAQ’s on their website.
- For the fastest support, access Teladoc through the mobile App or web
- Traveling during the holidays? Be sure to have your Teladoc account set up, including completing your medical history on your account set up page. Completing your medical history ahead of time can accelerate visit requests.
To review all of the CDC’s recommendations for Thanksgiving gathering, visit this page here. Again, these are all considerations to consider, not laws or regulations. Every family will do what makes the most sense for them, but we hope this information is helpful. Happy Thanksgiving, Friday members!