For Thanksgiving dinner, put out an SOS.
To be safe, keep Turkey Day gatherings:
▪ outdoors, and
No hanging around the TV watching games. If you must have a few close family members over, keep it to only a few who have been strictly careful, and then make it quick.
I am not joking. The most dangerous place to go right now is to a family gathering like a birthday party or a wedding.
Plan the entire visit for no more than two hours and no more than two other households — six to 10 people staying 6 feet apart and wearing masks except to take a bite or drink.
If you’re chased inside by weather, open all the doors and windows to keep fresh air flowing in different directions.
Have one person serve all the plates. No sharing spoons or ladles. Wash constantly.
If some family members can’t be there, remember them in the blessing.
Yes, Thanksgiving is important.
But staying safe and well for the next family holiday is also important.
If it’s simpler, skip straight to the leftovers and serve turkey sandwiches and pie
“The more you stick to keeping a good distance, for a short time, with good airflow, the better,” said Diana Cervantes, director of the epidemiology program at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth.
Her mom is 86.
“You just do everything you can to reduce the risk,” she said.
“Just stay a little bit. Make it count. Then get up and say, ‘Well, I gotta go.’ “
Keep the visit to needed conversation and family contact.
Then go back home to watch the games.
The most dangerous hours this entire holiday season might be the time huddled too close with Grandma or Grandpa around the TV just idly watching the Dallas Cowboys play the Washington team.
“If you look at why cases have risen so much lately, it’s very clear that small gatherings are driving this,” said Erin Carlson, director of the UT Arlington graduate program in public health.
“When you talk to the contact trackers, what they’re finding is that these cases are not from some big event. People say, ‘Well, we went to Grandma’s birthday party,’ or ‘How could we not have an anniversary party for Grandma and Grandpa?’ “
If you’re outdoors and sitting 6 feet apart, it might be safer to stay longer, unless you’re drinking alcohol.
“Think — is there something that makes people less likely to follow protocol?” Carlson said.
The longer you stay, the more likely you are to get too close.
“And what are people doing before they come?” she asked — “Are they coming from a bar? Have they been somewhere that’s not distanced?”
The careful distancing begins when guests leave home.
No packing different households into one car.
There are a few more specific ways to be careful.
▪ Don’t seat everybody at one cramped table. Spread out across two or three tables where guests sit well apart.
▪ Don’t have the music or TV turned up loud. Shouting spreads more of the virus.
▪ Don’t spend very long visiting with one person. Visit a a few minutes and then switch to someone else.
▪ And don’t gripe about doctors’ guidelines.
“You’re doing this for your family’s health,” Carlson said.
“If you compromise their health, then you might not get to spend time with the family. If Grandma and Grandpa are in the hospital, it won’t be because they were out playing bingo. It’s because of their family coming over.”
Some of the same rules apply if your Thanksgiving dinner is in a restaurant:
▪ Go at the slowest time.
▪ Sit outdoors if at all possible.
▪ Spread far out at a big table, or sit at adjacent tables. Never sit within 6 feet of anybody outside your household.
▪ Look for good ventilation or plenty of flowing air. (Enclosed tents don’t count.)
▪ Wrap it up quickly. Avoid public restrooms.
Most of all, wear masks except when taking a bite or drink.
In particular, always wear masks when a server is at the table.
Whether you’re dining out or at home, help keep everyone safe.