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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving, Boston!

 

CITY of BOSTON

Happy Thanksgiving, Boston!

This Thanksgiving is unlike any we’ve seen in our lifetimes. As cases of COVID-19 increase in the City, across the Commonwealth, and across the United States, we’re asking everyone to take necessary steps to prevent the spread of this virus as we enter a critical period in the pandemic. The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is at home with the people in your household. Gathering with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19.

 

If you may have COVID-19, are not feeling well, or have been exposed to the virus, you should stay home and not host or participate in any in-person gatherings. If you are at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, such as older adults or those with certain medical conditions, you should also not take part in any in-person gatherings.

Everyone can make Thanksgiving safer this year

Remember, celebrating at home with people you live with is the safest option this year. If you are planning on gathering with family outside your household or traveling, we urge extreme caution. Getting tested does not protect you from infection. It will still be a higher risk activity, and we ask that you refrain from engaging in this activity if possible.

 

Holding a gathering?

  • Keep it small and limit the number of guests. In Boston, indoor gatherings should be 10 people or less.
  • Ask guests to wear a mask unless eating and drinking, and stay 6 feet apart when possible.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
  • Ask guests to avoid going in and out of areas where food is being prepared and handled, like the kitchen.
  • Do not share food, drink, or any utensils.
  • Have guests bring their own food and drink.
  • Avoid any self-serve food or drink options, such as buffets, potlucks, or drink stations.

Keep in mind:

  • If sharing food, have one person (wearing a face mask and gloves) serve food and use single-use options and disposable items, like plastic food containers, plates, and utensils.
  • Consider small seating table arrangements in multiple rooms with plenty of spacing instead of a large family table.
  • Improve ventilation by opening windows and doors.
  • For 14 days before and after holiday gatherings, minimize contact with other people. Leave home only for essential services like going to work, buying groceries, and appointments with doctors.

Are you planning to travel?

As a reminder, we strongly advise against traveling for Thanksgiving, which may increase your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year. If you must travel:

  • Know the higher-risk states and what the Massachusetts travel order means for you when you return home. All visitors entering Massachusetts, including returning residents, are required to quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72-hours before your arrival in Massachusetts.
  • Wear a face covering at all times in public.
  • Stay 6 feet apart from anyone who is not in your household.
  • Get a flu shot before traveling, if you have not already.
  • Wash your hands often or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose, and mouth.

Safe alternatives for celebrating Thanksgiving

Looking for safer, alternative, or virtual ways to celebrate the holiday? The safest celebrations are with people from your household, or ones held outdoors that allow for safety measures.

 

Lower-risk activities:

  • Having a small Thanksgiving dinner with only people who live in your household.
  • Hosting a virtual dinner with extended family and friends.
  • Hosting a Thanksgiving meal outdoors, if possible.
  • Taking a walk with extended family while wearing a mask and staying 6 feet apart.
  • Preparing traditional recipes for family and neighbors. Deliver them in a way that doesn't involve contact with others.

Higher-risk activities:

  • Attending or hosting indoor gatherings with people from outside your home.
  • Sharing food and drinks.
  • Shaking hands and hugging. Wave and verbally greet others instead.
  • Singing, dancing, and shouting. These activities increase your chances of catching COVID-19 through the air.

 

Black Friday shopping?

Black Friday and Small Business Saturday are some of the biggest shopping days of the year. Take steps to stay safe:

  • Always wear a face covering in public.
  • Stay 6 feet apart from others.
  • Avoid crowds and crowded places.
  • Bring an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and wash your hands often.

Consider alternative, safer options:

  • Shop online
  • Use contactless services, like curbside pick-up
  • Shop in open air markets, staying 6 feet away from others and wearing a mask

 

Get the COVID-19 test!

As you would whenever you participate in any kind of gathering, consider getting tested for COVID-19. The City of Boston partners with community health centers, hospitals, and pharmacies to increase access to COVID-19 testing for Boston residents.

As a reminder, we have over 30 testing sites across the City, as well as two mobile testing sites currently at Central Square Park in East Boston and at Jubilee Christian Church in Mattapan. Find a site near you.

You can read more about Thanksgiving guidance on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. For more information on Boston's response to COVID-19, please visit our COVID-19 website.

Do you have time for a quick survey?

We are working to improve the Boston Public Health Commission website and we would love to hear from you! If you have a few minutes, please take our survey about the site.

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