Out-of state travels and large, indoor gatherings are the very rituals many families cherish during Thanksgiving. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic this year, public health officials advise against these traditions to keep everyone safe.

Typically, people invite a lot of friends and family to their home for Thanksgiving dinner. But the pandemic has forced them to make new plans just to celebrate it together like before.

The pandemic has truly escalated across the United States just as residents are preparing to gather, sit down, and eat turkey, while giving their opinions with siblings, parents, children, cousins, or perhaps a friend with no one to celebrate with. But now, public health officials are restricting people to gather and celebrate Thanksgiving together.

The COVID-19 virus, and these restrictions, have upended Thanksgiving in unprecedented ways. Families from all over the country are devising holiday plans to make sure that their health won’t be at risk. Some are lining up at testing sites, hoping to get a negative COVID-19 test result before the Thursday’s meal comes – while others are forgoing Thanksgiving altogether.

However, not everyone is following protocols. Since a lot of people are already frustrated after months of home isolation, they plan to ignore the pleas of public health officials and forge ahead.

They said that they will give thanks like the way they normally would because they believe that family is important, and that those who don’t have a family need a place to go.

Yes, Thanksgiving is the latest victim of the Coronavirus pandemic and 2020. Another tradition that once unified the United States and reduced a stressful dividing line.

Instead of arguing who will win the running game or giving opinions about politics, people simply gather on this day to give thanks for all the blessings they have received, which won’t happen this year because of the restrictions.

But for those who try to follow the pleas of public health officials, Thanksgiving’s holiday meal will be improvised in different ways: instead of large turkeys, people use small chickens to accommodate a more modest crowd. Other family members are apprehensively filling in for absent ones to cook for dinner. Dining is done outdoors – or indoors with windows open.

As the United States continues breaking records with over 198,500 positive cases announced in a single day on Friday, and over 82,000 people hospitalized, the anxiety over Thanksgiving comes. The country already has more than 12 million positive cases in total since the pandemic began, with deaths spiraled upward to 62% in the past two weeks.

On Thursday, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new Thanksgiving guide, asking residents to just stay home. They said that it was the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year.

This plea is actually not different from what the CDC had been giving for months. And there are signs that more families intend to stay home than to take this advice for granted.

Last Friday, the number of people who passed through checkpoints was down to 60% from the same date last year, according to the Transportation Security Administration. But still, at least one million people traveled through airports last Friday, making it the second busiest day of air travel since the pandemic began.