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Health Department urges people to keep Thanksgiving gatherings small

Message from health officials: Keep it under 10 people, outdoors if possible
Posted at 11:24 PM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 23:24:19-05

STUART, Fla. — If you are still finalizing your Thanksgiving plans, local health leaders are urging you to consider keeping your gatherings small this year.

Carol Ann Vitani, with the Florida Department of Health in Martin County, said there are ways people can still celebrate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I think families and friends can still have those Thanksgiving dinners, just on a smaller scale," she said. "Under 10 people, and if you have a beautiful day like today, our recommendation is to have it outdoors."

Also, some people may consider getting COVID-19 tests before their gathering. Vitani doesn't discourage that but said not to let that give you a false sense of safety.

"Remember, testing is great, but you could test now and depending on what you do after you could be exposed," Vitani said.

If people are not careful, she said, there could be a spike in cases one or two weeks after Thanksgiving.

Some people grocery shopping Monday night in Stuart said they are heeding the warning and scaling back on plans.

"My family does a big Thanksgiving dinner every year and people come to each other's house, but I think this year everybody is going to be at home," Kizzy Rucker said.

Ken French said his family usually keeps Thanksgiving gatherings small. That will continue this year.

"We sit, watch football, cook a turkey with immediate family, that's all," French said of his Thanksgiving plans with his wife and a friend.

Vitani is urging people to also keep up their guards beyond Thanksgiving and into the holiday season, reminding people to shop online when possible, shop during off-hours at stores and stay home if they feel sick.