Don’t be a turkey, stay home this Thanksgiving says CDC


Sam Mott

According to DCHHS, if North Texans fail to take the proper precautions over the Thanksgiving holiday, it could put the area in a worse position before Christmas.

Shekinah Toro, Contributing Writer

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Dallas County Health and Human Services have released guidelines on how to safely celebrate Thanksgiving during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of traditional large indoor gatherings, these public health organizations as well as sources from Brookhaven Campus are suggesting precautions such as reducing the size of gatherings, avoiding travel altogether, avoiding popular travel times if travel is necessary and dining outdoors where possible.

“It is important to follow all these guidelines and regulations to ensure this celebration will not be to cause harm but to reunite the family in a different way,” Logan Forbes, nursing student at the University of Texas at Dallas, said.

Instead of gathering together in person, public health organizations recommend celebrating Thanksgiving through online platforms such as Zoom or other video chat platforms. “People that you would normally have over, all of you plan a time to eat together over Zoom,” Mildred Kelley, Brookhaven Campus nurse, said.

According to DCHHS, families should gather only with their household members. Even small gatherings of people from multiple households can be dangerous, according to the CDC. “If the virus gets into the air, it’s going to affect everybody around,” Dr. Linda Yancey, Memorial Hermann infectious disease expert, said, according to WFAA.

“Ideally, celebrate with people in your own household. If you must, small gathering versus large for sure,” Mildred Kelley, Brookhaven nurse, said.

Public health officials recommend both hosts and guests who plan to meet with people from other households quarantine for 14 days before the holiday gathering, according to DCHHS. “For guests, lay the ground rules before they arrive so they know your expectations,” Kelley said.

According to the CDC guidelines, the number of guests should be limited as much as possible to help enforce social distancing. Guests should avoid direct contact, including handshakes and hugs, with others not from their household.

According to DCHHS safety guidance, families who choose to travel for the holidays should consider having celebrations on a different day, week or month to allow travel during less popular times.

Jennifer Allen, Dallas College Brookhaven Campus Faculty Association president, said: “Students should consider whether there are immunocompromised people in their home, the number of people who will be at the holiday gathering and how safe they have been prior to returning home.”


According to CDC and DCHHS guidelines, if the weather cooperates, moving Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner outdoors is one of the safest things to do to ensure that social distancing is practiced and to avoid the spread of the virus by asymptomatic people. “Wear a mask unless you are eating,” Allen said. “If the weather permits, eat outside if you are gathering with others.”

Other recommendations include using disposable utensils and avoiding having too many people in the kitchen, according to Forbes. Anyone preparing food should have a mask on, and hands and surfaces should be sanitized often.

Kelley said: “If you have to eat indoors, put people in several different rooms, not all at the same table. Distance as much as possible.”

When serving food, consider having only one person serve the meal to avoid sharing serving utensils and other contact. Hosts should limit the number of people who go in and out of areas where food is prepared or handled, according to DCHHS.

Kelley said she suggests avoiding sharing food between families if more than one household is at the gathering.

According to DCHHS, if North Texans fail to take the proper precautions over the Thanksgiving holiday, it could put the area in a worse position before Christmas. “We need to be aware of others around us and do all we can to ensure we can get through this pandemic together,” Allen said.