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Thanksgiving 2020: Tips for Enjoying a Safe Holiday


Person holding a mask with autumn pumpkins and leaves - healthcare and hygiene concept

Thanksgiving 2020 celebrations promise to be extremely different from past years, as the coronavirus surges in states across the country including right here in California. Infectious disease experts from the CDC are offering guidance regarding holiday gatherings, and important information about what all Americans need to be aware of this year. That means everyone needs to be mindful of the guidelines before traveling, hosting or attending parties over the Thanksgiving holiday.

The CDC recommends all Americans assess the levels of Covid-19 infections in their communities. And even though the golden state has been named the WalletHub lists California as the 12th safest state in which to celebrate the holiday, we who are fortunate enough to call Santa Barbara home still need to exercise caution at our celebrations, or whether to attend large non-family gatherings altogether.

“Some people in this country are going to be able to have a relatively normal type of a Thanksgiving, but in other areas of the country, it’s going to be, ‘You better hold off and maybe just have immediate family, and make sure you do it in a way that people wear masks, and you don’t have large crowds of people,’ ” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a recent interview with CNN.

Since the majority of California has reentered the purple tier, that means we are in the most restrictive phase of the state’s color-coded system. Daily coronavirus cases have doubled in the last 10 days, which is the fastest increase California has experienced since the beginning of the pandemic. 

In the first week of November, California saw a 51.3% jump in cases compared 39.2% spike during the first wave in June. The state also reached a milestone of 1 million COVID-19 cases last week. And with infection rates this high, the CDC recommends limited gatherings and, of course, following the “three W’s”— Wear a mask, Wash your hands and Watch your distance.

Family - elderly parents, their adult son, and teen granddaughter - wearing surgical masks to protect from an epidemic.

Low-Risk Thanksgiving 2020 Activities

  • The lowest risk for contracting the highly infectious virus or spreading it is simply celebrating Thanksgiving 2020 in your own home with members of your household only, and/or virtually with extended family.
  • People can prepare holiday food for non-household family members — especially those at higher risk of contracting Covid-19, and neighbors — and deliver it without contact.
  • Santa Barbara residents can also host a virtual dinner as a means of mitigating any risk.
  • Shop online instead of heading to stores for their Black Friday deals.
  • Watch sports events or parades from home.

Hold Thanksgiving on your patio like this one from a Montecito home for sale

Moderate-Risk Thanksgiving Activities

  • Hold your Thanksgiving dinner outside. We are so lucky with our perfect year-round Mediterranean weather that al fresco dining on Thanksgiving could become your family’s new Thanksgiving tradition. Even when celebrating outside, everyone is encouraged to follow the CDC guidelines: wearing masks, hand washing and social distancing.
  • Have your Thanksgiving 2020 dinner at one of the fine local restaurants that are open that day. There are quite a few options, but make your reservations now because they tend to book up quickly for the holiday.
  • Attend other local Holiday gatherings, like taking the family to the Santa Barbara Zoo for the afternoon. You can also get outside and be active on any of our beautiful beaches, run or hike, take a bike ride or walk the dog that day. After the holiday, the MOXI Children’s Museum is also offering a VIRTUAL Thanksgiving Camp from November 23 – 25th (9:30-11:30am) for kids grades 2-4. 

READ: Running Trails in Santa Barbara: 8 of the Most Popular

High-Risk Thanksgiving Activities

  • According to the CDC, large, indoor gatherings, dinners or parties, especially with people from outside your immediate family, pose the highest risk.
  • Gatherings that last a long time are more dangerous than those that are shorter.
  • The more people, the higher the risk.
  • Shopping in crowded stores and malls before or after Thanksgiving is another high-risk activity.
  • Attending crowded public events, such as sporting events or parades, is not recommended.
  • Using alcohol or drugs can cloud judgment and increase careless behavior as well.

Another safe activity is going online and checking out the real estate opportunities in Santa Barbara. If you see something you like, please give me a call at (805) 886-9378 or email me at I’ll happily arrange a safe tour for you and can even add your existing property to my portfolio of fine homes in the area. In the meantime, if we all follow the CDC guidelines, we will enjoy a safe and Happy Thanksgiving 2020, and for many years to come.


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