Thanksgiving dinner is what best defines the holiday, of course. But, during these times of pandemic, is there any risk with food?
Luckily, “Food is not a risk factor in transmission,” says Natalie Seymour, a food safety extension associate at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina.
She explains that “The greatest risk for COVID-19 comes from person-to-person transmission, which is generally a factor when you’re within six feet of others for 15 minutes or longer.”
With that in mind, these are the preventive steps to take if you want to have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner or something that can be just as good and safe.
First and foremost,
Know the Infection Rates
It’s time to do a little audit. Who are your guests? What communities do they live in? What are the infection rates in the said communities? What is the infection rate in your community?
See, there’s a lot of variance in the positivity rate and case trends among states, counties, and even communities.
If the rates are high in a given community, consider dining virtually. Yes, even if it’s just one loved one affected. These are challenging times, and no one should be left out because their area is affected. Virtual dinners enable inclusivity.
The same goes when some of the loved ones are elderly or immune-compromised.
According to Sandra Kesh, an M.D., the deputy medical director and infectious disease specialist at Westmed Medical Group in Westchester, New York: “Elderly and immune-compromised people should not attend in-person Thanksgiving dinner celebrations, especially if the rate of community spread is high or growing, and if the holiday will be celebrated indoors.”
Nonetheless, you can prepare and deliver meals to high-risk neighbors if done in a contactless way.
If you’re in a position to host a face-to-face dinner,
Know the Local Restrictions
Is it worth breaking the guidelines to share a meal?
Check your local area regulations and guidance on the number of guests for indoor and outdoor gatherings.
Follow the local data to plan the day and limit the number of loved ones in attendance.
Logically, an indoor party will allow for a lesser number than an outdoor dinner – thus, select accordingly.
Ensure that the attendees follow the health guidelines and if you want to include a large number to your dinner, add a virtual gathering to complement the live party.
While at it,
Measure the Available Space – Literally
The size of your backyard or patio dictates the number of guests you can host.
Kesh says, “What’s the size and layout of the space you are hoping to host in? Measure the space, or the table if you’re planning to share it, and invite-only as many people that would allow you to maintain a truly safe distance—at least 6 feet apart.”
She adds, “Even if your residence is large enough to host a small group of guests, and you can seat people at an appropriate distance, something to keep in mind is that when people are eating, your face masks come off. Physical distancing is key, especially when everyone is un-masked during mealtime.”
The private logistics will dictate the number of people you can safely invite. Next,
Alert the Guest to Take Extra Precautions for over two weeks before Thanksgiving
The guests should self-isolate over 14 days before the get-together.
Quarantining before the gathering will prevent them from picking up the virus and infecting the other guest.
Better yet, request the guest to get tested days to the gathering. That way, you’ll ensure it’s safe for high-risk individuals in attendance.
Flip that script on all matters Thanksgiving, from schedule to location, and serving style.
And remember to practice good hygiene, open windows for better ventilation, have the face masks on when not eating or drinking, and use disposable service ware and table cloths to ease the after-party cleaning.
Kesh says, “Every intervention you put in place will increase your ability to host a safer Thanksgiving dinner, although there is never zero risks.”
As we second the fine doctor’s words, we at CRIStal Clean are here to help you implement some of the interventions.
Interventions such as cleaning highly-touched surfaces regularly, thorough-cleaning your home, and whatnot.
Holiday times are stressful times, and the pandemic only makes it worse. Thus, let’s help you get back that little free time you got.