10 Key Tips for Social Distancing at Thanksgiving

Published October 5, 2020
thanksgiving dinner during the corona virus

Key tips can help you practice social distancing at Thanksgiving. You can still have a warm and loving family Thanksgiving celebration while staying safe from COVID-19 by using smart social distancing tips.

Best Tips for Social Distancing This Thanksgiving

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) offers great tips specific for holiday gatherings. Outdoor venues are less likely to expose your Thanksgiving guests to the coronavirus.

Tip 1: Location! Location! Location!

It isn't just real estate anymore where location plays an important role. A Thanksgiving venue can pose a greater risk if it's small and cramped for space. The CDC reminds that poor ventilation indoors is the biggest risk factor for a Thanksgiving celebration. You can better protect yourself and/or guests concerned about COVID-19 and other infections by taking the following precautions:

  • Change the air filter(s) before your Thanksgiving celebration.
  • Open doors and windows during your celebration to provide greater ventilation.
  • Plan a shorter than normal gathering to minimize expose.
  • Invite fewer people to your Thanksgiving dinner or find a larger venue.

Tip 2: Limit Number of Thanksgiving Guests

If you are inviting guests who don't live in your home to a Thanksgiving dinner and plan to be indoors, then the CDC advises that you limit the number of guests. You don't want to overcrowd the space of your home and increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Tip 3: Consider Possible Issues for Traveling Guests

Another risk consideration for a Thanksgiving gathering is how far the guests must travel to attend. This is a concern for those traveling to the event from out-of-town or out-of-state.

Woman traveling wearing a facemask

According to the CDC, this type of traveling from areas outside yours can lead to the spread of COVID-19. You are advised to consider the regions where your Thanksgiving guests are coming from and whether the area has suffered from a large COVID-19 outbreak.

Tip 4: Provide Guests With Masks for Social Distancing

If you are hosting a Thanksgiving dinner or gathering, you should take the lead to ensure your guests are safe. You can provide disposable masks in case a guest forgets theirs or ask guests to bring extra masks to ensure everyone has one. You can always purchase festive masks for your guests or ask them to wear a Thanksgiving-themed mask.

Tip 5: Supply Hand Sanitizer to Guests

If you're hosting a Thanksgiving gathering, provide guests with individual or communal hand sanitizers. You can set up a station in the entrance, kitchen, and bathroom. Hand sanitizers should be at least 60% alcohol.

Tip 6: Minimize Physical Contact

While most families and friends often kiss, hug, or shake hands as their normal forms of greetings, especially during the holidays, the CDC even warns against fist or elbow bumps. Instead, the CDC advises to wave at your family members when they arrive and offer a verbal greeting instead of a hugs and kisses.

Tip 7: Plan Socially-Distanced Thanksgiving Games and Fun

If your family tradition includes a game of football, you may play a different kind of game this Thanksgiving that allows for social distancing. There are several fun games you can enjoy outside and inside.

  • Set up several TVs for appropriate social distancing, so everyone can watch the Thanksgiving parades together and afternoon football games.
  • Play bingo outside with each person set up with a TV table or with quilts spread on the ground for immediate families.
  • A game of charades is a fun game everyone can enjoy.
  • When night falls, you can enjoy a family fireworks display, depending on your location and laws.
  • If you have an outdoor theater system, hold a backyard movie night, complete with individual bags of popcorn and bottled drinks.
  • Caravan to a local drive-in movie, and either text or conference call, so everyone can enjoy the movie together.

Tip 8: Prepare and Serve Thanksgiving Foods Carefully

The most ideal way to serve food to avoid contamination is for guests to bring their own food to a Thanksgiving celebration. Many guests will appreciate your precaution and feel safer eating a meal they've prepared opposed to a typical buffet style spread.

cooking at home wearing facemask

If you plan to forego having individuals bring their own food, then you can follow a few social distancing guidelines for food preparation. These guidelines are relevant when you have guests who do not live in your household.

  1. Request that arriving guests immediately wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  2. Limit the number of people preparing the food.
  3. Everyone preparing/cooking/serving food should wear masks.
  4. Anyone working in the kitchen should wash their hands before and after preparing and serving food.
  5. You can designate one person to serve all the food to keep exposure to a minimum.
  6. It's best to provide single serve condiments and disposable utensils, plates, and napkins.
  7. After the meal is finished, everyone should once more wash their hands.

Tip 9: Manage Seating Arrangements

If you live where the weather is pleasant during November, you can plan your Thanksgiving event for outdoors. You can set up different seating arrangements, so your guests are spaced six feet apart. When setting up table place settings, stagger the seating so no one is sitting directly across or beside another person.

Tip 10: Social Distance Restrooms and Bathrooms

Public restrooms are germ pits. If you're attending a public venue for a Thanksgiving event, you may want to avoid the restroom. The door handles are a primary place for germ accumulation. You can carry a hand sanitizer with you to use.

If you're hosting a Thanksgiving dinner or party, place a hand soap dispenser in your guest bathroom along with either a roll of paper towels or holiday decorated disposable guest towels. You can set a small basket by the sink filled with individual bottles of hand sanitizer or a disperser of wipes.

Following Tips for Social Distancing at Thanksgiving Celebrations

Make sure your guests understand ahead of your Thanksgiving celebration the types of social distancing you plan to implement. When everyone practices social distancing, Thanksgiving can be safe and enjoyable.

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10 Key Tips for Social Distancing at Thanksgiving