The company wants you to hang out with your loved ones virtually this year.

By Stacey Leasca
November 16, 2020
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There’s no doubt that this Thanksgiving will look different than previous years. You may not be able to physically sit around a dining table with your loved ones this time, however, Zoom wants to make sure you can at least virtually gather together. 

In honor of the holiday, Zoom is lifting its 40-minute limit on free video chats for one day only. 

Credit: Getty Images

“As a thank you to our customers, we will be lifting the 40-minute limit for all meetings globally from midnight ET on Nov. 26 through 6 a.m. ET on Nov. 27 so your family gatherings don't get cut short,” Zoom wrote on Twitter.

Of course, people can also always get around the 40-minute limit by going for the paid version of Zoom, too. 

As The Verge noted, Zoom isn’t the only video sharing platform that comes with a time limit on its free version. It noted, most of Zoom’s competitors also have time restrictions, including Google Meet, which comes with a 60-minute limit, and Cisco Webex, which has a 50-minute limit. 

While letting people use the video service for more than 40 minutes may seem like a small deed, it could make a huge difference in the health of the nation.

"We're going to see an unprecedented surge of cases following Thanksgiving this year, and if people don't learn from Thanksgiving, we're going to see it after Christmas as well," Dr. James Phillips, chief of disaster medicine at George Washington University Hospital, told CNN.

CNN pointed to Johns Hopkins University data that showed the US has had at least 10,888,372 cases and at least 245,574 deaths due to COVID since the start of the pandemic earlier this year.

"This is a grim day for the country, because we're seeing cases skyrocketing, we're seeing hospitals fill up and we're also seeing the death toll march up," former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said in a statement on Friday. He noted the vital importance of minimally wearing a mask, washing hands, and social distancing during the holiday season. He added, "If you're thinking about going home for Thanksgiving, ask yourself if you can observe these kinds of precautionary practices, because if you can't, then you may be putting yourself and others at risk.” 

Or again, just stay home and Zoom for as long as you’d like. Or, maybe, don’t tell your family about the unlimited video chat day, and instead enjoy them for 40 short minutes from a distance and then go enjoy some turkey all to yourself.