Story at a glance

  • The CDC advocates small Thanksgivings this year with protocols like masks and social distancing in place.
  • Guidelines also recommend against singing and having pets interact with people outside of the household.

With Thanksgiving just more than a week away, close gatherings indoors are inherent for many Americans. But as the nation grapples with its deadliest outbreak yet, this poses a dangerous breeding ground for further COVID-19 transmission.

In a bid to reduce the risk and spread of COVID-19 infections, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidelines to help make Thanksgiving holidays as safe as possible. 

Now standard health protocols, including wearing a mask with two or more layers over the nose and mouth, are included in the guidelines, as is the rule to stay 6 feet apart from those outside of your household. 

Interestingly, more fall holiday guidelines recommend that hosts encourage guests to avoid singing or shouting indoors, as this forceful breath can transmit high viral loads from one guest to another.

Using single-use items is also encouraged, like towels, utensils, condiments and food containers, although there is not evidence supporting that handling shared food or eating is associated with the direct spread of COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 epidemic is worsening, and small household gatherings are an important contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases. CDC offers the following considerations to slow the spread of COVID-19 during small gatherings,” officials write, noting that these do not replace current laws instituted across various jurisdictions.

Public health officials also advise people go treat pets like human family members and prevent them from interacting with guests outside of the household to avoid animal-to-human transmission.


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Published on Nov 17, 2020