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Americans turning to alternative ways to celebrate Thanksgiving amid pandemic

(WDBJ7)
Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 10:25 AM CST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Some governors across the U.S. are tightening COVID-19 restrictions as the number of coronavirus cases continue to increase ahead of Thanksgiving.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging Americans to follow safety precautions this holiday season which impacts many American’s Thanksgiving plans.

Tim Harris with Miles To Go restaurant said they have about 1,000 orders of their Thanksgiving meals customers pick up the day before Thanksgiving at both Columbus locations and their Phenix City locations.

“We were scared because a lot of families, the government is telling you don’t have more than 10 in a gathering and things like that. So, this year we’re truly blessed and I’m thankful for all the orders that have come in. We’ve still got a couple more days so I’m sure that number will continue to climb every single day,” Harris explained.

Amid the pandemic, health experts are encouraging Americans to celebrate Thanksgiving with a virtual gathering or small gathering with other people you live with.

“It’s another one of those times where people are going to have to make choices as to whether or not they want to get together and celebrate the holiday with family and friends and if they choose to do that, they have to know that there is that risk,” said Pamela Kirkland with the Columbus Health Department.

The CDC said older adults should avoid in-person holiday gatherings with people who do not live in their household.

“Ever year, some older people will come in who maybe they don’t have a lot of family, but they’ll come in on Wednesday and get a dinner to go so they can eat it on Thursday. And we’ve always seen that. I’m expecting that to be even at a higher level this year,” said Harris.

Harris said they also have a large amount of catering events booked for the holiday season.

“The thing that’s different this year than in years past is we usually come and set up chafing dishes and people walk through the line, but now the biggest request is individual boxed dinners,” he said.

Harris said he is also looking to hire more employees this holiday season as a result of the pandemic.

To help make Thanksgiving safer this year, alternatives to traditional activities the CDC recommends includes eating outside, watching TV, or playing games with people you live with and bringing food to neighbors by leaving it on the porch.

However, no matter how different Thanksgiving traditions look this year, the message remains the same for some Americans year after year.

“You think about what’s important in life and if you narrow everything down, family is what’s important,” Harris said.

The CDC also recommends that people bring their own food and drinks to Thanksgiving gatherings whether they’re either inside or outside. Masks are recommended except when eating and drinking.

If you’re hosting a small gathering, the CDC also suggests having a conversation with guests before they arrive to set expectations.

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Original Story: https://www.wtvm.com/2020/11/17/americans-turning-alternative-ways-celebrate-thanksgiving-amid-pandemic/