NEW JERSEY — Gov. Phil Murphy and State Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli have been advising New Jerseyans to host smaller gatherings at Thanksgiving, to limit attendees to immediate family, and limit travel as much as possible. At a COVID-19 press briefing last week, he expressed his concern about holiday gatherings.

“This is not the year for a large family gathering, with loved-ones coming in from out-of-state, or for you to travel out-of-state,” he said. “We strongly urge you to have a smaller gathering with just your immediate family bubble.”

“We have to get back to the mindset that saw us crush the curve throughout the spring. We cannot be successful unless every New Jerseyan recognizes their responsibility in this fight. Social distance. Wear a mask. Wash your hands,” Murphy advised.

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Similarly, the CDC has issued new guidelines for making Thanksgiving celebrations safer this year:

Attending a Gathering
Make your celebration safer. In addition to following the steps that everyone can take to make Thanksgiving safer, take these additional steps while attending a Thanksgiving gathering.

  • Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.
  • Wear a mask, and safely store your mask while eating and drinking.
  • Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen.
  • Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates, and utensils.
  • Hosting a Thanksgiving Gathering
  • illustration of friends gathering outdoors wearing masks and six feet apart

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

  • Have a small outdoor meal 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.
  • If celebrating indoors, make sure to open windows.
  • Limit the number of people in food preparation areas.
  • Have guests bring their own food and drink.
  • If sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils.

Thanksgiving Travel
Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. However, if you do travel, here are some tips:

  • Check travel restrictions before you go.
  • Get your flu shot before you travel.
  • Always wear a mask in public settings and on public transportation.
  • Stay at least 6 feet apart from anyone who is not in your household.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Bring extra supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer.

Consider Other Thanksgiving Activities

  • Host a virtual Thanksgiving meal with friends and family who don’t live with you
  • Schedule a time to share a meal together virtually.
  • Have people share recipes and show their turkey, dressing, or other dishes they prepared.
  • Watch television and play games with people in your household
  • Watch Thanksgiving Day parades, sports, and movies at home.
  • Find a fun game to play.

Shopping

  • Shop online sales the day after Thanksgiving and days leading up to the winter holidays.
  • Use contactless services for purchased items, like curbside pick-up.
  • Shop in open air markets staying 6 feet away from others.
  • Other Activities
  • Safely prepare traditional dishes and deliver them to family and neighbors in a way that does not involve contact with others (for example, leave them on the porch).
  • Participate in a gratitude activity, like writing down things you are grateful for and sharing with your friends and family.

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