Thanksgiving is going to look very different in 2020. While our safety specialists typically share information about travel safety during the holidays, this year we’ll be talking about avoiding travel to stay safe.

As COVID-19 cases surge throughout the country, public health officials are recommending that people stay home this Thanksgiving and only celebrate with members of their household to protect yourself and others from the virus.

Instead, consider preparing food for family and dropping it off or having a virtual meal together.

COVID Safety

However, if you do plan to get together with friends and family, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is advising caution. Recommendations include:

  • Consider self-quarantining for the 14 days in advance of the holiday.
  • Wear a well fitting mask. (Have extras on hand, especially for the kids.)
  • While you are eating store your mask safely.
  • Stay at least 6-feet apart from people who are not part of your household.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Bring your own plates, cups and utensils.
  • Avoid going in and out of the kitchen while the food is being prepared.
  • Use single-use options for condiments or food containers.
  • Eat outside or inside with windows open.
  • Consider having guests bring their own food and drinks.
  • Sanitize surfaces before guests come and after they leave.
  • Have a conversation in advance about COVID prevention expectations.

And, if holiday shopping is one of your Thanksgiving traditions, you might want to consider taking it online this year.

Kitchen Safety

No matter how you handle this very unusual Thanksgiving, you will likely still be spending time in the kitchen preparing your meal.

A big culprit for accidents and injuries during the holiday is the preparation. According to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires in the U.S., followed by Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, and the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. In 2016, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,570 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving, with unattended cooking being the leading contributing factor in fire injuries and deaths.

How to avoid kitchen dangers:

  1. If you are frying, grilling or broiling food, never leave it unattended—stay in the kitchen. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  2. Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
  3. Keep children at least 3 feet away from a hot stove. Even the steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
  4. If you are deep-frying your turkey, never use the fryer indoors, keep it a safe distance from buildings and flammable objects, be sure your turkey is completely thawed and dry, keep children and pets away, and be mindful of splashing or spattering oil.
  5. Clear the floor so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  6. Keep anything that can catch fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels or curtains—away from your stove, oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.
  7. Make sure your smoke alarms are working.
  8. Never dispose of hot grease in the garbage. Instead, let it cool and then discard it in a covered metal can (like a coffee can).
  9. Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.
  10. Have a fire extinguisher on hand and know how to use it.

By taking care and being alert even Thanksgiving 2020 can be a wonderful holiday….just a little smaller. Wishing you a happy and safe Thanksgiving from TSS!