While it seems like COVID-19 has cancelled a lot of things this year, Thanksgiving isn’t one of them.
But with the pandemic still underway and an uptick of new infections, British Columbians will need to be very careful and cautious about how they celebrate this year.
It will look different and it may not feature all the same traditions you’re used to, but preventing COVID-19 is certainly something to be thankful about.
Here’s how to celebrate Thanksgiving safely this year.
Can I still have a Thanksgiving gathering?
Yes and no. A Thanksgiving celebration is possible but it absolutely can’t look the way it does in previous years.
“We know that many of the transmission events that we’re seeing now are from social events and people getting together and I would say Thanksgiving is an important time to connect with our family, with our loved ones. Giving thanks is incredibly important and this year, as much as any year when we’ve all come through this,” said B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry recently.
“But we need to do it in ways that are safe, particularly for our older family members, for people who are at risk of having severe illness from this.”
So who can I have over for Thanksgiving?
According to Henry, “now is not that time to have the family gathering.” That’s particularly true if you’re used to having extended family, cousins, friends of friends or neighbours over for a big turkey dinner.
This year, you’ll have to keep it very small, including only those in your immediate bubble to prevent any possible infection from spreading among multiple bubbles.
“Now is the time to have your small, local, nuclear family together and to connect through Zoom, connect through virtual means with the rest of your family and other parts of the country.”
If my family lives elsewhere, can I travel to see them for Thanksgiving?
Again, this is another Thanksgiving tradition that may have be postponed for another year. Travel is one of the ways infections have spread across the country and re-ignited COVID-19 in places that were previously close to quashing or were on track to bring down infections.
“Now’s our time to go back to staying close to home,” said Henry. “Staying with our nuclear household, our family, our family bubble and giving thanks that way.”
Instead, considering coordinate a video chat via Zoom or other messaging platform on a larger screen or TV, where family members can prepare their own meals but still sit down to enjoy it together across time zones.