Expert tips on how to have a safe Thanksgiving dinner amid COVID-19

You can have Thanksgiving dinner at the James Beard House in New York.

Like many events and holidays this year, people have had to make adjustments to their usual Thanksgiving plans for 2020.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has noted that “small household gatherings are an important contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases.”

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The Atlanta-based agency has outlined a list of considerations to help slow the spread of the disease caused by the coronavirus at small gatherings. It emphasizes that the considerations “are meant to supplement—not replace—any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which all gatherings must comply.”

People should also continue to practice wearing a mask, washing hands and social distancing.

For Thanksgiving, the CDC says low-risk activities include having an intimate dinner strictly with people who live with you, preparing a traditional meal for family and friends that can be delivered with no contact and remaining home to view movies, sports and parades.

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A small outdoor dinner with neighbors and attending small outdoor sporting events with safety measures taken into account are considered moderate risk activities. But attending crowded parades or large indoor gatherings with people outside your household are considered higher-risk activities.

For families who wish to gather in person, experts say there are steps you can take to help keep everyone safe.

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Utilize outdoor spaces

“Outdoors, those infectious particles are more likely to get dispersed before others can breathe them in,” CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen said to the news outlet.

Pamina Gorbach, an epidemiologist and professor at the University of California, Los Angeles told HuffPost chairs should be placed six feet apart, preferably outdoors, and that people from the same households should be seated together.

Have air filters indoors

Vox.com reported that for indoor gatherings, ventilation should be considered.

Open the windows and use a fan to drain old air from the area and bring in a fresh breeze and possibly run a HEPA air purifier, as the Washington Post reported director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony S. Fauci and his wife plan to do if the weather is too cold.

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Avoid family-style serving

Rather than having a buffet or other method of getting food that will require multiple hands to be in shared pots, leading Mayo Clinic trained physician Dr. Bita Nasseri and her husband, Dr. Shawn Nasseri, told “Good Morning America” that people should assign an individual to serve food. The couple suggests the server should wear gloves and a face mask to limit any possible exposures.

“This is a good year to not use silverware, maybe you can use plastic forks and plates. Have fun with it and limit exposure that way,” Bita Nasseri said.

Although the Food and Drug Administration says there currently no evidence indicating that COVID-19 can be spread through food, Bita Nasseri said “as far as dry, plastic surfaces it has been proven that the virus can transmit up to 72-hours.”

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