How to celebrate Thanksgiving safely this year

MADISON, Wis. – With exactly two weeks until Thanksgiving, the pandemic is changing what the holiday will look like this year and how families will celebrate.

UW Health Dr. Jeff Pothof tells News 3 Now gatherings are going to have to be a lot different.

“Even what we consider relatively small gatherings, ten people or fifteen people, are now posing enough risk where it’s even not recommended even doing that,” Dr. Pothof said.

Even if you were to quarantine for two weeks, Dr. Pothof says you’d have to start right now, but it isn’t realistic for many people. A strict quarantine would mean no grocery shopping, no working outside the home and no in-person school for fourteen days.

“I think the difficulty of actually pulling that off is really hard if you try to think about what daily life looks like for us,” Dr. Pothof said. “There aren’t many of us that can just stay at home and quarantine for two weeks. So to think you’ve got fifteen to twenty relatives that all have nothing to do other than to quarantine for two weeks, it’s probably not going to happen. This is an all or none thing. If it’s not all, than your risk is high.”

If you’re looking to get tested for COVID-19, the best day to test would be as close to Turkey Day as possible, while still leaving enough time to get results, but Dr. Pothof stresses a test might not catch a still-brewing infection. That’s why he recommends just celebrating Thanksgiving with your immediate family in your own home.

Dr. Pothof still encourages family time now more than ever, so utilize FaceTime, Zoom, and Skype, whatever you can. He says interaction with others is going to be important as we head into the winter months.

If you are traveling, check travel restrictions and get your flu shot right away. Also, remember to wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands and sanitize as often as you can.