CDC ranks Thanksgiving activities by COVID-19 risk: No gatherings with out of town relatives or Black Friday shopping

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FILE – This Nov. 2, 2009, file photo shows a Thanksgiving turkey in Concord, N.H. Food safety experts say raw turkeys shouldn’t be rinsed, since that can spread harmful bacteria. Cooking should kill any germs. But bacteria can still spread in other ways, so washing and sanitizing hands and surfaces is still important. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – When many people envision Thanksgiving they think of large family dinners followed by Black Friday shopping sprees.

However, with the coronavirus pandemic still at large, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending people alter their celebrations this year with safety in mind. This includes smaller gatherings and not traveling for the holiday.

“Thanksgiving is a time when many families travel long distances to celebrate together,” the CDC said on its website. “Travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. If you must travel, be informed of the risks involved.”

The CDC has ranked actives into three categories – lower risk, moderate risk, and higher risk.

Here’s how the CDC ranks each Thanksgiving tradition:

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 small outdoor sports events with safety precautions in place

Higher risk activities

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

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