DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – If you’re planning on traveling to grandmother’s house for the holidays this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention don’t recommend it.
The CDC is urging people to stay home to celebrate Thanksgiving in guidelines the agency released this week.
“We need to change the rules for this one year, maybe two years,” said Dr. David Winter, an internal medicine physician at Baylor Scott & White Health.
This Thanksgiving may be a time to make new traditions.
The CDC has urged people to avoid the following activities the agency has labeled as high risk:
Going shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving
Participating or being a spectator at a crowded race
Attending crowded parades
Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors
Attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household
“More and more the evidence is that anytime we have these large congregations like Fourth of July, we see a spike in the cases,” Dr. Winter said. “The virus is out there. It’s ready to attack. It hasn’t gone away, and it attacks by going from one person to the next – so any gathering with lots of folks, gives you the opportunity to spread.”
Many big retailers, like Walmart, Target and Best Buy, are moving towards a more socially distanced approach anyway, by offering deals earlier in-store and online.
“The smaller the crowd, the better,” he said. “The crowd you know is better than the crowd that you don’t know.”
Having a small, outdoor dinner with family and friends who live in your community is considered moderate risk.
“So pick your crowd wisely,” said Dr. Winter. “Pick people you can trust and minimize the alcohol intake, if any. We just need to be smart about this thing because the virus is very predictable. It’s going to spread at every opportunity.”
The CDC has labeled other moderate risk activities:
Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people are able to maintain social distancing
Attending a small outdoor sports events with safety precautions in place
The agency says the safest way to celebrate is to have a small dinner with only the people who live in your home. Instead of traveling long distances to be together, have family members who live far away join in virtually.
More low risk activities, according to the CDC:
Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others
Shopping online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving or the next Monday
Watching sports events, parades, and movies from home