As COVID-19 surges, CDC urges people to stay home for Thanksgiving

The federal agency recommends people avoid traveling and only celebrating the holiday at home with people they live with.
Publish date:

As COVID-19 cases across the country skyrocket, the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention is urging people to stay home for Thanksgiving

"As cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with," the CDC's guidance, which was updated Thursday, says. 

More than 1 million COVID-19 cases have been reported in the U.S. over the past seven days, the CDC says. Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or other illnesses, like the flu. 

“We understand that people want to see their family and relatives and do it as they’ve always done it. But this year we’re asking them to limit their travel," the CDC's COVID-19 incident manager Dr. Henry Walke said in a press briefing this week, according to USA Today.

Walke says the CDC is worried about people traveling via transportation hubs where people are waiting in line together to board buses and planes, according to CNBC, and the CDC is recommending people don't travel at all. 

“For Americans who decide to travel, CDC recommends doing so as safely as possible by following the same recommendations for everyday living," Walke said.

In recent weeks, as COVID-19 has pushed hospitals to their brink, health officials have gotten stricter in their recommendations for celebrating the upcoming holiday safely. 

In early November, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and CDC asked people to avoid large gatherings and then health experts shifted their recommendations to say people should bubble if they planned to visit family or friends. 

Now they're asking people to only celebrate with those in their immediate household. In Minnesota, doing anything but that is going against a new executive order that prohibits all social gatherings with people outside of your immediate household, even if the event is outdoors or allows for social distancing. 

“One of our concerns is that as people over the holiday season get together, they may actually be bringing infections with them to that small gathering and not even know it,” Walke said, according to CNBC, adding that 30% to 40% of spread is driven by people without symptoms.

Follow Bring Me The News on YouTube

Instead, the CDC suggests having a virtual celebration with those you don't live with or deliver meals to family and neighbors without making contact.  

If people do choose to go against the CDC's recommendations and host an in-person gathering with people outside of their household (remember, they're not allowed in Minnesota), the CDC encourages people to take the following steps to make things safer:

  • Have a small meal outdoors with those who live in your community
  • If celebrating inside, increase ventilation in the home by opening windows and doors and/or turning on the home's central air/heat so the fan is continuously circulating the air
  • Limit the number of guests
  • Set expectations with guests for celebrating safely prior to the event
  • Limit the number of people in food preparation areas, and better yet, have people bring their own food and drinks
  • Make sure people sit six feet apart and wear a mask whenever they're not eating or drinking
  • Avoid singing and shouting, especially indoors

Additional safety tips and recommendations for celebrating the holidays and holiday travel can be found here and here

Next Up

Chad Beebe

Chad Beebe's roller-coaster fourth-quarter keeps Vikings playoff hopes alive

A muffed punt and a game-winning touchdown helped defeat the Panthers on Sunday afternoon.


West-central MN cops warn kids to stay off ice, or 'Santa won't come'

This comes amid repeated ice warnings across the state.

covid-19, coronavirus, PPE

Nov. 29 COVID-19 update: 57 deaths, nearly 9,000 more cases

Nearly 100,000 tests were included in Sunday's report.

jim ramstad

Watch former Rep. Jim Ramstad's memorial service online

The ceremony will be live-streamed for the public on Sunday.


How high can Rashod Bateman go in the 2021 NFL Draft?

The Gophers star receiver has plenty of praise heading into next April.

TCF Bank Stadium

15 more from Gopher football team test positive for COVID-19

That brings the total number of cases from this outbreak to 40.

Teddy Bridgewater

5 questions for Vikings-Panthers Week 12 NFC battle

The Vikings welcome Teddy Bridgewater back to U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.

police lights

Shelter-in-place in Albert Lea after police officer shot in the chest

The officer was able to drive to an emergency room.


St. Paul officer shoots man who got out of dumpster, ran towards police

A report says the man was naked and had a steak knife.

Screen Shot 2020-11-28 at 6.58.11 PM

Gophers dominate second half to defeat Loyola-Marymount

Marcus Carr scored 26 to send the Gophers to 2-0.

Ambulance hospital emergency

Kandiyohi Co. man airlifted after hand caught in corn picker

Corn pickers are a common cause of farm accidents.

White tail deer

DNR: Passenger shot at deer out of driver's side window

The DNR said 'all sense of safety was disregarded.'


thanksgiving turkey

COVID-19: MDH's guidance for celebrating Thanksgiving during a pandemic

MDH's guidance for celebrating Thanksgiving this year asks people to avoid large gatherings and instead celebrate in small groups or with family.


Dinner with extended family? CDC issues Thanksgiving COVID-19 guidance

An outdoor dinner with a small group is considered a moderate-risk activity.

mask up

Midwest governors urge people to mask up, take precautions ahead of the holidays

The message comes ahead of the holidays when health officials are asking people to only celebrate with their household.


Doctors urge Minnesotans to re-think Thanksgiving plans, follow CDC advice

The Minnesota Medical Association has issued a plea to Minnesotans at a time when hospitals are under tremendous strain.

thanksgiving turkey

Experts say stay home this Thanksgiving, 'bubble' before if you'll go anyway

"If you can't bubble yourself," Osterholm says, don't go home.

covid-19, coronavirus

As COVID-19 cases surge, Itasca County suspends contact tracing

Health officials instead will focus on high-risk settings, like schools and long-term care facilities.

coronavirus, ICU, covid-19 hospital, doctor

COVID-19 cases, deaths in Wisconsin continue to surge

Wisconsin reported its highest single-day death count on Wednesday.


MDH changes advice, says Minnesotans should skip Thanksgiving gatherings

"As tempting as it is to stick with our cherished traditions this year, we really need people to reconsider and frankly not gather with other households."