Is everyone tired of hearing about the pandemic yet? Massive changes in how we live and relate to one another have become our new “normal” since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. As Thanksgiving rounds the corner, Hoosiers here in Greenfield will face the ultimate test: can we safely contain this virus and still enjoy our holidays? Whether you plan to gather outdoors with family and friends or remain in your home for a more intimate holiday, make sure that you are taking the appropriate precautions to protect both yourself and those around you.

Thanksgiving at Home

According to the Center for Disease Control, the safest way to celebrate is with only the people who live in your home. This includes roommates, friends or family who are currently residing in your residence. What many Hoosiers may not realize is that small, home-based gatherings are thought to be fueling much of the spread of the novel Coronavirus, hence why large indoor gatherings are not being condoned. This is because the ventilation in the average American home does not sufficiently filter particles and viruses from the air. Homes are sealed to protect against the escape of heat, especially in the winter, but this also allows the air, and any particles it is carrying, to recirculate.

Furthermore, those that are infecting a majority of the population are also not showing any symptoms. We still have a lot to discover about this virus and, until we know more, the safest way to contain it is to quarantine. If you are following these guidelines and staying home, there are still ways to interact with family and friends. Set a place at the table for the computer and use Zoom during dinner or try to coordinate the menu. Get creative with family traditions, maybe adding in a game that can be enjoyed over a video call.

How to Celebrate Thanksgiving Safely

If you have already decided to host a Thanksgiving, outdoors will be your best bet. Here in Indiana, you never know whether it will be warm or a bit chilly, so make sure to prepare for both. Have a basket with extra blankets or hand warmers available for guests. Offer warm beverages and maybe even fire up the grill for some of the side dishes. Plan entertainment such as lawn games or a scavenger hunt. It may even be a good investment to purchase or rent a tent or outdoor heater. Make sure to have everyone wear masks, and even keep some disposables available just in case they are needed.

Encourage guests to bring their own drinks and food, such as takeout from a local restaurant. Offer a place for hand washing or a hand sanitizing station. Try to avoid close contact and even offer seating at distanced intervals to keep it easy on guests. Limit the number of attendees as much as possible and plan to clean and disinfect any commonly touched surfaces. You may even need to clean the bathroom in between guests using it or offer the cleaning supplies so that they can wipe down the sink when finished.

Remember Things Will Be Different

This holiday season will look different and it most definitely won’t be easy to go without seeing beloved friends and family, although maybe one year without seeing grumpy Aunt Gertrude wouldn’t hurt. However, we must work together to stop the spread so that we can begin enjoying these important relationships once again. If you are trying to be the safest amidst this outbreak, keep your gathering to only those you live with. If you need to host something, make sure to keep it outdoors and understand the risks. Wear masks, be cautious and work to protect all Hoosiers during this surge of COVID-19. We hope you all have a happy and gratitude-filled Thanksgiving!