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What COVID-19 Means for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time when family and friends gather, but this year it will look a little different. The best way to limit your risk of exposure to COVID-19 is to limit travel and only celebrate with those inside your household. Always remember to practice the 3W's by wearing a mask, waiting 6 feet apart or socially distance, and wash your hands frequently. These guidelines are even more important for individuals who are at a higher risk of severe illness like people over the age of 65 or those who have underlying health conditions. You should stay home or avoid socializing if you have symptoms, have tested positive, or have been exposed to a positive case in past 14 days.


"It is important that you limit gatherings with those outside your household, or celebrate outdoors safely," said Wayne County Health Director Dr. Brenda Weis. "Current restrictions only allow gatherings of 10 or less indoors, so this year maybe move Thanksgiving to an outdoor setting where you can socially distance. For Black Friday, avoid shopping areas and social venues where the preventative measures are not being followed."


Below you will find some guidance from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services for Thanksgiving and Black Friday this year.


During the Thanksgiving:

  • Host your gathering outdoors, when possible. If this is not feasible, make sure the room or space is well-ventilated by opening windows and doors to the extent that is safe and feasible based on the weather.

  • Arrange tables and chairs to allow for social distancing between guest. People from the same household can be in groups together and do not need to be 6 feet apart – just 6 feet away from other groups or families.

  • Practice the 3 Ws (Wear, Wait, Wash) during the event: Wear a face covering when not eating or drinking, Wait six feet apart from others, and Wash your hands regularly.

  • When guests need to remove a face covering to eat or drink, it is recommended they maintain 6 feet distance from people outside their household and put their face coverings back on after they are done eating or drinking.

  • Limit people going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen or around the grill, if possible. Have one household approach the food serving area at a time to prevent congregating.

  • Consider identifying one person to serve all food so that multiple people are not handling the serving utensils.

  • Use single-use options or identify one person to serve sharable items, like salad dressings, food containers, and condiments, so that multiple people are not handling the items.

  • Full guidance by clicking here

During Black Friday:


It is strongly recommended that individuals do not participate in any traditional Black Friday shopping where customers gather in large groups waiting for the store to open or are in crowded stores for extended times. It is also recommended that people who are at high risk for COVID-19 complications (e.g., people over 65 years of age or with underlying chronic conditions) limit in-person shopping if possible.


When You Are Out Shopping:

  • Follow the Three W’s: Wear a face covering, Wait Six Feet from other people, and Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer

  • Remember that all retail establishments in North Carolina are required to limit customer occupancy to no more than 50% and have all employees and customers wear face masks

  • Use hand sanitizer before you enter the store and after you exit. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds when you return home.

  • Have a list of items to buy to limit browsing and do not unnecessarily touch multiple items

  • Shop only in stores that have implemented proper safety protocols. Examples include but are not limited to stores that:

  • Sanitize shopping carts between uses

  • Use touchless payment methods

  • Limit occupancy

  • Have social-distancing reminders in-place

  • Avoid shopping in stores that attract crowds and make social-distancing difficult. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Stores with in-person, limited supply sales

  • Stores with in-person events such as tree lightings, Santa Claus visits, etc.

  • Avoid shopping with a non-household member

  • Full guidance by clicking here