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In The Kitchen

How to Celebrate the Holidays During a Pandemic

Food Safety and Social Distancing Tips from the Experts

Protective face masks and Thanksgiving flatlay on wooden background. Play Video

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.

Video Q&A Menu

This feature is stuffed full of timely recommendations and guidance, so it runs longer than most Homegrown segments. We provide shortcuts below to specific questions and answers throughout the video to help you find the info you need:

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.

Tip Sheet

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.
Print Tip Sheet 

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.

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