If you’re still not sold on staying home this Thanksgiving, consider the facts of your situation and the world around you. Here are 12 questions to ask yourself before attending an in-person Thanksgiving gathering.
Are you at high risk of getting severely sick from COVID-19?
People who are at increased risk of severe illness from the coronavirus include older adults and those with underlying medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cancer, chronic kidney disease and more.
Are any other attendees at high risk of severe illness?
“Prior to visiting loved ones, it’s a good idea to have everyone check with a
physician on their risk status for severe disease if they contract COVID-19,” Dr. Linda Anegawa, a physician with virtual health platform PlushCare, told HuffPost. “Individuals who are high risk for complications are safest avoiding family gatherings altogether.”
Will you have to travel to attend the celebration?
Public health experts advise against unnecessary travel during the pandemic — particularly now, as case counts continue to skyrocket.
“Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19,” the CDC website notes. “Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year.”
What means of transit will you use?
If you have to travel for Thanksgiving, are you going by plane, train or bus, all of which make social distancing nearly impossible?
“Traveling by car is probably safer than an airplane, given the exposure to far fewer people,” said Anegawa. “When traveling by car, be sure to have hand sanitizer, paper towels, and sanitizing wipes available (in case you need to make any bathroom pit stops along the way). Supplying your own snacks and drinks can also help to minimize stops in unfamiliar locations.”
If you travel by plane, try to go at off-peak times and days, practice social distancing at the airport and when boarding, wipe down your seat area and always wear your mask. Anegawa suggested a face shield in addition to a mask for extra protection as well.
How many COVID-19 cases are there in your current location?
Consider the coronavirus situation in your community. Are cases high or increasing? You can look up the specifics at the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, which includes a U.S. map tracking COVID-19 cases by county. The CDC also has a COVID-19 data tracker.
What’s the case rate at your destination?
Do the same research for the location of your Thanksgiving destination to see how many cases have been reported and if that number is rising. If cases are high or increasing, that’s all the more reason to avoid going there.
Look up the hospital situation in your current location and potential Thanksgiving destination as well. Many communities are nearing full hospital bed capacity. Consult local public health websites for more information.
Are there restrictions for travelers at your destination?
Most places have implemented restrictions and requirements for incoming travelers amid the pandemic. The CDC’s travel planner tool has information about state and local regulations about quarantines, test requirements and other restrictions. You can also go to the state or county’s public health website and check local news sources.
Travel restrictions also generally apply upon your return from out of state, so it’s best to look up the rules in your own community, as well.