Rethinking Thanksgiving

Traditional Thanksgiving gatherings with family and friends increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19. The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is to celebrate with only the people in your household. 

The CDC is asking people to not to travel for Thanksgiving and not to spend the holiday with people from outside their household.

If you do plan to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, take steps to make your celebration safer. 

Hosting a Thanksgiving Gathering

If having guests to your home, be sure that people follow steps that everyone can take to make Thanksgiving safer. 

  • Wear masks. Cloth face coverings that fit snugly and are placed over your nose and mouth whether you are inside or outside are best. Be sure to wear a mask all the time except when eating or drinking. Store it safely while you are eating or drinking.
  • Have a small outdoor meal or gathering with family and friends who live in your community.
  • Limit the number of guests.
  • Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
  • Have guests bring their own food and drink.
  • If sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils.
  • Remember to keep six feet apart. Spreading out and keeping households separate from one another will help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. 
  • If you do gather indoors, open windows to create greater ventilation and limit the amount of time you spend together inside. 

Traveling or Hosting Travelers for the Holiday? 

Always wear a mask. Maine’s mask mandate states that everyone over the age of 5 must wear a mask at all times inside and out when in public spaces.  Don’t risk your health or the health of others. 

Keep in mind Maine’s COVID-19 requirements mandate that all travelers coming into Maine, and all Mainers returning to Maine, must complete a 14-day quarantine upon returning to Maine. 

Individuals who have a negative COVID-19 test (not a positive antibody test) collected no more than 72 hours before arrival are exempt from the quarantine mandate. As of November 13, 2020, residents from New Hampshire and Vermont traveling to Maine are also exempt from the quarantine mandate.

Click here for a list of local testing locations.

Plan Ahead 

Testing is already nearing capacity in many locations in Maine. And healthcare officials anticipate that increased demand due to holiday traveling will create delays in getting tested and receiving test results.  Make plans for quarantining while you wait for test results. And remember, everyone staying in your household with a traveler must quarantine as well. 

Testing delays could mean that you wait for days for your results. All household members must quarantine while waiting. Plan for food deliveries or contactless curbside pick-up and remote schooling and working from home while you wait. 

Keeping Others Safe 

No one wants to risk making a loved one sick with COVID-19. If you are concerned about possible exposure to COVID, take these simple precautions to keep your colleagues, friends, and loved ones safe: 

  • Confirm your risk — contact your healthcare provider to ask about your potential risk
  • Quarantine — stay away from others for 14 days or until you receive a negative COVID-19 test result 
  • Get tested — keep in mind that test results are most accurate five days after you’ve been exposed to COVID-19.  If you are tested too early, or too late, you could be unknowingly spreading the virus.