LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- This Thanksgiving promises to be one, unlike any other. COVID-19 has local leaders calling for scaled-back holiday celebrations. But that doesn't mean you have to give-up on family fun.
The United States has seen over 100 thousand new COVID cases every day in November. And according to the CDC, small gatherings are an important contributor. As we approach the Thanksgiving Holiday, health officials hope families will celebrate virtually or only with members of your immediate household.
"We can't celebrate in the same way we want to or used to, it's just absolutely not safe," said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, LA County Health Director.
There are indications those warnings will be ignored. AAA's travel forecast expects 3.8 million people in Southern California to travel this year, mostly by car. If you plan to be one of them, the CDC is offering some guidance.
First, keep it small and outside with family and friends in your community. But if you have out of town guests, especially through air travel, consider the COVID count where your guests originated, and avoid immediately gathering together.
"Perhaps you sort of self-isolate or kind of kind of regroup and settle in and rest a little bit from your travel well without a lot of personal contacts," said Kathleen Winston, Nursing Dean, The University of Phoenix.
Make sure to talk about what is expected regarding masks and social distancing. Stephanie Friends had people at her house for July 4th without incident, but in advance, made sure everyone knew she was serious about safety.
"I constantly reminded them that their temperatures would be checked, there would be masks provided for them if they didn't have a mask... if they're feeling sick or running a temperature, then should stay home," said Friends.
Thanksgiving is focused on eating, but the CDC says to avoid having people going in and out of areas where food is prepared or handled. And one person should serve everyone, using disposable plates and utensils, while also using single use condiment packets.
"Just think of how much less time we'll spend in the cleanup in that kitchen as well for that individual," said Winston.
But don't forget it's also a time to focus on fellowship. This year, remember the longer the gathering, the greater the risk to everyone, so it's best to shorten the time together.
These CDC suggestions are not meant to replace local health regulations and always remember, it's not glamorous but make sure before anyone sits down at the table, wash your hands.
"The very best single way to prevent the spread of any infectious illness including COVID-19 is good hand washing, maintaining personal hygiene, and environmental hygiene," said Winston.
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