Traditional Thanksgiving gatherings with family and friends are fun but can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu. Follow these tips to make your Thanksgiving holiday safer.

The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate with people in your household, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you do plan to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, the CDC recommends taking these steps to make your celebration safer.

Wear a mask

  • Wear a mask with two or more layers to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.
  • Make sure the mask fits snugly against the sides of your face.
  • See how to wear and remove your mask properly.

Remember the 6 feet rule

  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you.
  • Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread COVID-19 or flu.
  • Keeping 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

Wash your hands

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Keep hand sanitizer with you and use it when you are unable to wash your hands.
  • Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

If you attend a gathering

Know that the safest gathering is one with only the people you live with. If gathering with others:

  • Stay at home if you are sick or if you’ve been exposed or think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19.
  • Get tested for COVID-19 if you’ve been exposed, think you’ve been exposed or have symptoms — remember, you can have the virus and not have symptoms.
  • Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.
  • Wear a mask, and safely store your mask while eating and drinking.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands frequently.
  • Remember that it’s even more important to be physically distant when eating and drinking as people are unmasked.
  • Eat outside, weather permitting; ask the host to open windows if the gathering is indoors.
  • Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen.
  • Use single-serving options, like salad dressing and condiment packets and disposable food containers, plates and utensils.

If you host a Thanksgiving gathering

Know that the safest gathering is one with only the people you live with. If gathering with others:

  • Have an outdoor gathering.
  • Limit the number of guests.
  • Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
  • Wear masks when less than 6 feet apart from people or indoors.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
  • Make sure to open windows if gathering indoors.
  • Limit the number of people in food preparation areas.
  • Have guests bring their own food and beverages.
  • If sharing food, have one person serve food and use disposable options, like plastic utensils.

Be cautious about Thanksgiving travel

Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.

If you do travel, the CDC recommends:

  • Check travel restrictions before you go.
  • Get your flu shot before you travel.
  • Always wear a mask in public settings and on public transportation.
  • Stay at least 6 feet apart from anyone who is not in your household.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Bring extra supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer.

Try a new twist on Turkey Day

  • Host a virtual Thanksgiving meal with friends and family who don’t live with you. Have people share recipes and show their turkey, dressing or other dishes they prepared.
  • Watch football, get a head start on holiday movies or play games with people in your household.
  • Safely prepare traditional dishes and deliver them to family and neighbors in a way that does not involve contact with others; for example, leave the food on the porch.
  • Participate in a gratitude activity, like writing down what you are grateful for and sharing with your friends and family.

And don’t forget shopping

  • Shop online sales the day after Thanksgiving and days leading up to the winter holidays.
  • Use contactless services for purchased items, like curbside pickup.
  • Shop in open air markets staying 6 feet away from others.

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