By Samuetta Hill Drew
Thanksgiving is usually a holiday where people from different households gather, laugh, and have fun as they feast over a large meal consisting of many delicious meats, vegetables, breads, deserts, and beverages.
If you are the hostess there are many key factors, you must consider when preparing for this holiday. The main two key factors for consideration include the menu and the guest list. 2021 Thanksgiving adds a third one – COVID safety protocols for family and guests. Let’s review the key ingredients necessary to create a COVID safe Thanksgiving environment.
Preheat the oven by making sure your guest list includes fully vaccinated people, if possible. You want to host a low risk gathering. Keep your gathering small as well as limit the number of different households in attendance. In 2021, you have three different categories of potential guests – unvaccinated, fully vaccinated with an immune compromised condition, and fully vaccinated with the initial COVID vaccination series plus the booster.
Now mix in your guest invitations. It does not matter whether the invite is verbal, in writing or by email, there are certain COVID safety information and protocols which should be included upfront. If you are unsure how to ask politely about their vaccination status, Dianne Gottsman, a national etiquette expert, author of Modern Etiquette for a Better Life, and founder of The Protocol School of Texas, wrote out a script:
“I would love for you to join us. We are asking that in order to share the celebration with us, we would like to know that each family member and friend has been vaccinated for the safety of everyone on the guest list. May I ask, have you been vaccinated?”
Refer to last week’s article which offered some suggestions on how you may want to respond and approach those unvaccinated family members and/or friends.
Bake in some COVID safety protocols in your Thanksgiving gathering. These protocols could include having masks available for all your guests when they enter your home. Let them know that everyone two years and older is asked to wear their mask except when eating or drinking. Regardless of whether the guests are vaccinated, one of the safest places to gather is outdoors.
If you are hosting an indoor gathering, open the windows (weather permitting) or consider using a HEPA air purifier to reduce the amount of airborne virus. If you have a guest who is unvaccinated limit your gathering to no more than 10 and two households. If everyone is fully vaccinated and nobody has viral symptoms or any risk factors for serious disease, it is advised that the gatherings could go up to three family households and 15 people.
Now decorate with a fun activity for your guests. When guests enter your home and show you their vaccination card, have them write their name down on a piece of paper, fold and place it into a bag or bowl for a drawing. Have the drawing for door prizes after the meal.
You want to Keep an Eye on Safety as much as possible when hosting Thanksgiving. You do not want COVID as a guest. Where there are no guarantees, you want to always error on the side of safety in mixing your ingredients together during Thanksgiving 2021.