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The CDC says you can still celebrate Thanksgiving, but be prepared to take the turkey outside


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If you've ever wanted to kick your in-laws out of the house on Thanksgiving, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it's not only acceptable to do so this year, but preferred. 

Well, not exactly.

But the CDC has updated its outlines for how to celebrate Thanksgiving safely. Of course, the safest way to eat hormone-filled birds and honor the small pox-fueled genocide of Native Americans with people you love but don't necessarily like is to not do it at all. What's the fun in that, though? After all, pie.

As a response to a surge in cases linked to intimate Thanksgiving celebrations in Canada last month (to which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded with "This sucks. It really, really, does."), as well as a record-breaking number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the CDC advises taking dinner outside — if weather permits. 

In addition to hand-washing, mask-wearing, social distancing from those not in the same household, and limiting shouting, the CDC says one of the safest ways to celebrate is outdoors, but warns against enclosed tents. However, if a tent is being used, they suggest leaving a wall or two down to increase airflow. 

For indoor gatherings, the CDC recommends leaving windows open and/or selecting a host's home that has good ventilation. As for capacity, it depends on the space and whether people can maintain a six-foot distance at all times. 
People should also consider assigning one person to plate food so you don't have anti-masker and chronic cougher Tía Carmela breathing on the stuffing. Not the stuffing! Or, to keep things extra awkward, it's suggested that people bring their own food, dinnerware, and utensils to limit cross-contamination. If you're mixing and mingling several different households on Thanksgiving, hosts should also ask all parties to avoid outside contact for the 14 days leading up to the holiday. 

Perhaps the worst part of this whole COVID-19 Thanksgiving arrangement is the treatment of pets. The CDC recommends treating “pets as you would other human family members” by not letting pets interact with people from other households. This is tragic, as the only upside of visiting Grandma's condo is avoiding all human contact by obsessing over Snickers, her arthritic Basset Hound. And that sucks. It really, really sucks. 

For a full list of the CDC's tips and recommendations, visit

This article first appeared in the Cleveland Scene, an affiliated publication.

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