Thanksgiving is a holiday that is all about spending time with loved ones. Usually, family members travel great distances to visit their extended family and enjoy a big turkey dinner around the table. It’s tradition.

This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the CDC recommends putting that tradition on hold. Originally, the CDC guidelines for Thanksgiving discouraged traveling to visit family and friends for the holidays, but now, with an explosive growth of new COVID-19 cases in the United States, the agency is saying that it is especially important for Americans to skip the large family gathering this year. 

The CDC recommends staying home and celebrating with just the people in your household since traveling to visit family and friends can greatly increase the potential of spreading COVID-19 as well as the flu. 

In a briefing call, Henry Walke, the CDC director of the Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infections, stated that he is taking his own advice.

“I haven’t seen my parents since January. That’s been difficult. I’m staying home.”

Dr. Fauci, the white house coronavirus advisor, has also previously stated that he will not be celebrating the holidays with his daughters. They have decided not to come home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

If the experts can make sacrifices to practice safety best practices during the pandemic, we can too. Even if you were previously planning a large family gathering for Thanksgiving, it’s not too let to switch to an online gathering via an app like Zoom. You could meet virtually from your individual homes and even do Black Friday shopping online together after dinner.

With Thanksgiving only a week away, some people will probably choose to ignore the CDC’s recommendations. With that in mind, the CDC has released guidelines about how to keep yourself and your family as safe as possible during a family gathering.

If you or your loved ones are going to be participating in a traditional Thanksgiving gathering, the CDC recommends wearing a face mask, staying 6 feet away from anyone who is not in your household, washing your hands frequently, and bringing hand sanitizer. If weather permits, it’s best to have your Thanksgiving dinner outside, and consider asking guests to bring their own food.