Halloween hasn't even come and gone and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are already ahead of their holiday guideline game. They've released their suggestions for having a safe and hopefully COVID-free Thanksgiving, but hardcore bargain Black Friday shoppers may be a bit disappointed in this year's list of CDC-approved activities.
The CDC has broken up the usual turkey day activities into three tiers: lower risk, moderate risk, and higher risk.
The lower risk activities all have one thing in common: They all can be done in the comfort of your own home, alone or with the people you already see every day. Having a small dinner with the folks in your household, watching sports in your living room, saying hello to long-distance family via Zoom — all okay.
Moderate risk activities take things up a notch, like having an outdoor dinner with others, visiting pumpkin patches and orchards, and attending small outdoor sporting events that have safety precautions in place. We assume that means masks on, six feet of breathing room enforced, hand sanitizer at the read. What that means for your family's annual game of touch football is open to interpretation.
The highest risk activities are what you'd expect — crowded parties and large family meals. But the CDC is also coming for Black Friday shopping and Thanksgiving 5ks. No shopping in crowded stores, they say, trying to soften the blow by not saying Black Friday directly but instead calling out the days "just before, on, or after Thanksgiving." No participating in or watching a crowded race. No boozing it up, lest the alcohol cloud your judgment on mask-wearing.
The CDC also advises against attending crowded parades, which made me wonder whether the Thanksgiving Day Parade is going to be on this year. A quick Google indicates that it's going to look a little different, but imagine how eerie it would be to watch those giant balloons cruise down a street that's totally devoid of spectators.
The bright side? You probably won't be dragged to attend your partner's family 5k on Thanksgiving morning this year, and Cyber Monday shopping is still on. It's the little things.