CDC Recommends Skipping Travel And Instead Hosting Thanksgiving Virtually

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has urged Americans not to travel over Thanksgiving, instead recommending they host the holiday virtually to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The directive was issued a week before Thanksgiving and recommends that Americans stay home for the holiday to protect themselves from the virus, sharing dinner with others through video calls.

If planning to travel by bus, train or air, or with people outside of one’s household, the CDC said travel should be delayed. However, the CDC guidelines say to practice sanitation if one decides to  travel and “always wear a mask in public settings, when using public transportation, and when around people who you don’t live with.”

While the holiday season is typically when Americans travel the most, 2020 is expected to look much different from years prior. AAA said it anticipates a 10% decrease in travel since 2019, the largest decrease since the Great Recession a decade prior. (RELATED: Police Reportedly Spray Anti-Lockdown Protesters With Water Cannons In Berlin, Germany)

With many states reimposing restrictions amid coronavirus case surges, the number of travelers may plunge even further due to the uncertainty that makes committing to travel difficult.

ARLINGTON, VA – NOV. 26: Travelers arrive at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport Nov. 26, 2014, the day before Thanksgiving, outside Washington, DC, in Arlington, Virginia.The day before the Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest travel days of the year in the U.S. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

For those planning at-home gatherings, the CDC guidelines recommend multiple accommodations be made if groups don’t opt for virtual Thanksgiving celebration. People are advised to bring their own materials such as food and eating utensils, and to wear a mask indoors for the entirety of the gathering, except when eating and drinking. 

“Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates, and utensils,” the CDC’s website says. “Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen.”

For virtual Thanksgiving celebrations, the CDC guidelines suggest scheduling a time for dinner and showing the prepared dinner via camera.

The U.S. death toll surpassed 250,000 as of Wednesday, with 162,000 new coronavirus cases reported, according to the Wall Street Journal. While the number of deaths had continued to inch upward, the mortality rate hasn’t been as sharp as previous surges. Health experts remain concerned that a surge in cases could continue to put strain on health care systems.