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The original item was published from 11/23/2020 12:04:12 PM to 12/1/2020 12:00:06 AM.

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Public Health

Posted on: November 23, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Tips to help keep COVID-19 from being an uninvited guest at your Thanksgiving

COVID and Thanksgiving_Nov 2020

Thanksgiving is a time when people typically gather with friends and family, but gatherings like these can easily spread COVID-19. With the virus spreading in our region, the safest way to celebrate the holiday is by limiting gatherings to people who live in your household or by celebrating with others virtually.

For community members who do plan to spend the holiday with people they don’t live with, Schuyler County Public Health and Yates County Public Health provided the following tips for community members to help make their Thanksgiving holiday safer:

  • Wear a mask, even with family and friends. Only remove your mask when you are seated to eat.
  • Always social distance by staying at least six feet away from people who do not live with you – especially when you are seated to eat as people can’t wear masks while eating.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.
  • Do not attend if you aren’t feeling well, especially if you have ANY of the following symptoms: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Do not attend if you tested positive for COVID-19 or had close contact with someone with COVID-19 or are under an isolation or quarantine order.

If you plan to host a gathering, consider:

  • Location: COVID-19 spreads more easily in indoor areas so consider holding the gathering outdoors if the weather allows or opening windows if you plan to be indoors. 
  • Duration: Longer gatherings are more likely to spread COVID-19 than shorter gatherings. People are most likely to get COVID-19 if they spend 10 minutes or more within six feet of someone with COVID-19.
  • Number of attendees: Limit the number of people attending to 10 or fewer. The more people in attendance, the higher your risk that someone has COVID-19. Remember: people can be contagious for COVID-19 even if they don’t have symptoms.
  • Behaviors of attendees: Consider whether the people you would be inviting consistently wear a mask, social distance, and follow other precautions.
  • Risk level of attendees: Some people are more likely to get very sick if they get COVID-19. Consider your risk level and the risk to people you plan to invite.

If you or anyone planning to attend a gathering will be traveling, check for travel restrictions beforehand. For information about the NYS Travel Advisory visit:

To learn more about celebrating Thanksgiving safely during COVID-19, visit or

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