How to Celebrate the Holidays During a Pandemic
Food Safety and Social Distancing Tips from the Experts
Thanksgiving and the holidays will look a little different in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot of people have a lot of questions about everything from preparing a turkey and timing the meal to guidelines for family gatherings and social distancing.
Fortunately, we found the answers to many of your Thanksgiving safety questions for you – we’re just as fond of feasting as you are. Watch as Ben Chapman and Natalie Seymour, food safety experts with NC State Extension, serve up research-based tips and tools that will help keep you and your loved ones safe and happy this holiday season.
This Q&A feature is stuffed full of timely recommendations and guidance, so we provide shortcuts below to specific topics throughout the video to help you find the info you need:
- 6:15 – How To Eat Safely Without a Mask
- 8:54 – What Does 6 Feet of Distance Mean?
- 11:00 – Why Is Takeout Safe? And How Can I Replicate Those Practices for Prepared Food in My Home?
- 15:44 – How To Deal With Surface Transmission on Dishes/Utensils
- 19:00 – How To Approach Foot Traffic in and Out of the House
- 21:00 – How To Deal With Lots of People Using Your Bathroom
- 24:50 – Will Drinking Alcohol Affect Transmission?
- 28:00 – Tips For Shopping Safely
- 30:00 – How To Safely Deliver Holiday Food
- 34:30 – Food Safety Regarding Infused Oils/Vinegars
All in the Family
The least risky option for holiday celebrations is to not gather in-person with people outside of your household. However, if your friends and family decide that they are willing to take on some risk to be together, here are the top tips for in-person gatherings – apply as many of these as possible to reduce the risk of virus transmission.
COVID-19 Tips for Holiday Gatherings
- Ask people who have been exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19) or show symptoms to stay home and join virtually.
- Limit the number of attendees as much as possible to reduce risk of exposure.
- Hold gatherings outside.
- Wear face coverings whenever people are not eating.
- Self-isolate for the weeks leading up to traveling to see family.
- Have plenty of hand sanitizer and hand soap available for hand hygiene.
- Keep people from different households at least 6 feet apart from each other, especially if inside and not wearing masks.
- Open windows and encourage air flow.
Facts on Food Safety
Whether you have questions about the impact of COVID-19 on holiday gatherings or you’re just curious if the 5-second rule is legit, NC State Extension’s Safe Plates Food Safety Information Center provides real, science-based information to help people make safer food choices.