The CDC Releases Guidelines for a Safe but Happy 2020 Thanksgiving Celebration

How to safely enjoy this year's Turkey Day.

With Thanksgiving only a couple of weeks away and cases of COVID-19 continuing to rise in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their guidelines for a safe Turkey Day celebration this year.

The CDC first and foremost advised that "travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19" and that, "staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others." But for those hitting the road for the holidays, they should be mindful of any travel restrictions or quarantine requirements in their destination before heading out.

The CDC also recommends getting a flu shot before traveling and packing extra supplies like masks, hand sanitizer, and gloves in your luggage.

If you're hosting a gathering, holding festivities outside is encouraged, but if you're inside try to open the windows. Surfaces should be regularly disinfected and single-use items — such as utensils and condiments — should be utilized when possible.

And the phrase "too many cooks in the kitchen" could not be more true this year as the CDC recommends minimizing the number of people who are around any food prep. Food should also be plated by one person.

Thanksgiving guests should continue to practice precautionary measures including mask-wearing and social distancing if celebrating with people from outside your household. Guests may want to consider bringing their own utensils and plates, if not using single-use items, to avoid unnecessary cross contimation.

aerial view of a table at Thanksgiving

But this year, as everything is different, a virtual dinner or contactless meal — like dropping off food on a neighbor's front porch — is always a safe way to go.

Several officials like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Vermont Gov. Phil Scott have urged people to avoid traveling to celebrate the holiday. If you are passing through the airport this year, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has released tips for safe Thanksgiving travel during COVID-19.

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. When in a new city, she's usually out to discover under-the-radar art, culture, and secondhand stores. No matter her location, you can find her on Twitter, on Instagram, or at

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