This iconic Norman Rockwell painting, Freedom from Want, also known as The Thanksgiving picture will definitely not be representing the American family this holiday season.
Because of the pandemic, many of us are cancelling traditional large gatherings as we stay close to home wearing masks and social distancing.
But believe it or not, there is a relatively safe (or shall we say safer) way to get together with loved ones for a Thanksgiving meal if you’re willing to put in the work… and it’s not a virtual gathering.
Baylor University doctors say if you follow certain protocols you can build your own holiday bubble.
They’ve observed the actions of colleagues who’ve remained healthy despite contact with COVID patients… and the NBA which created a successful bubble.
This is how they came up with this checklist.
First… the disclaimers:
This doesn’t work if everyone is not in on it. This method relies on TRUST.
For starters, if you want to do this for Thanksgiving, you’ve gotta start now and check every one of these off your list!
- Flu Shot
- Hold a family meeting; and appoint a Family Bubble Commissioner
- Commit to creating a safe holiday bubble —everyone pledge to follow this process
- Identify holiday location
- Order face shields/goggles (if flying). Consider getting N95 masks*
- Check travel restrictions for the state you will be visiting
2 WEEKS PRIOR TO HOLIDAY
- Self-quarantine if possible*
- Follow strict viral exposure practices (mask, distance, avoid crowds, wash/sanitize hands)
- Check temperature and symptoms daily
5-7 DAYS PRIOR TO HOLIDAY
- Get a PCR diagnostic test
- Stock up on hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes for travel
- Buy travel snacks (if driving)
- Complete purchase of holiday food and beverages, while maintaining quarantine. Use a touchless grocery delivery service
- Re-check travel restrictions for the state you will be visiting
DAY OF TRAVEL
- If flying, wear a cloth mask (or N95) and face shield/goggles*
- If driving, avoid crowded stops. When stopping, wear a face shield or goggles in addition to your mask.
TRAVELING TO THE BUBBLE
- Drive if possible.
- Make the trip in a single day if you can do so safely.
- Bring your own travel snacks
- Limit time in -- or avoid altogether -- crowded roadside fast food restaurants, truck stops, etc. Mask and distance when out of the car. Consider adding a plastic face shield in addition to a cloth mask.
IF YOU MUST FLY
- Wear a cloth mask (or N95 for maximal protection) and a face shield or goggles. Remember, eye protection is in addition to your mask.
- While on the plane, leave your mask and face shield/goggles on as much as possible. Ideally, they should stay in place for the entire flight.
- Skip the snacks and drinks.
- Use the restroom prior to boarding.
- Limit fluid intake for 30 minutes prior to departure, and during relatively short flights (two hours and less).
- Avoid use of the airplane lavatory. If you must use the lavatory, keep your mask on, and wash your hands thoroughly.
DURING THE HOLIDAY
If you are confident everyone has followed the above guidance, you are relatively safe in your bubble. Continue to use common sense. Play games, eat, sing songs, throw the football. Enjoy fellowship with (bubble compliant) friends and family. After all your hard work, planning and preparation, you can relax and enjoy the holiday.