Thanksgiving faces differences this year

     The year 2020 has been a year of many changes in order to adjust to COVID safely. One of the biggest changes this year is located in the month of November. Every year on November 26, millions of families gather together to celebrate a Thanksgiving feast. While this event has been celebrated for many years, this year presents a stark contrast to  which we have always been accustomed.

      Though there have been many restrictions and mandates towards Thanksgiving, and while many citizens are carrying out their plans, some have had to reschedule. Mrs. Proffitt (Guidance Counselor) said, “No, because my family is very small, our family plans haven’t really changed at all.” Proffitt then added, “I really don’t think they’ll go wrong. I think that advancements are made daily in terms of how to combat COVID and I think that life is short so choosing to be with my family is important.” Mrs. Arthur (Algebra 1 teacher) said, “There definitely could be a problem. Only if someone was infected. I think people need to be careful” Similarly to Proffitt, Jacobs said, “I think my plans will go well in spite of Covid-19. My family is taking precautions and staying safe this holiday season. Hopefully, my family’s plans will go well during Thanksgiving.”

      Due to the health concerns associated with the coronavirus, alterations to plans may be necessary to meet the proposed safety guidelines.  This year, governors have made restrictions. This included gathering numbers. In Virginia, groups may only get up to 25 people. However in places, such as New Jersey, the number has been slashed down to 10 per group from the original 25 permitted.

     Traffic during the Thanksgiving holiday is inevitable. Thousands of cars are making the journey to their families, sometimes across the country. However, this year there are more restrictions to traveling that may negatively affect the traffic. Arthur said that she didn’t think that traffic would be affected this year. Contrasted to this, Benson said, “I think it will stay the same depending on the state and if governor’s mandate things. People love their families and the holidays are a special time of year for everyone. I don’t think COVID can stop that.” Similarly to Benson, Jacobs said, “I do think the traffic amount will decrease this year as a result of COVID. I believe families are very hesitant this holiday season to visit their family and friends. However, some families will still continue to travel this Thanksgiving and traffic may still be heavy.”

      The past years have had heavy traffic, which is expected. Last year in 2019, an estimated 49.3 million people traveled for Thanksgiving. These numbers are the highest recorded since 2005, and 2.8% higher than the travels in 2018. This year it is expected to have less congestion and traffic due to the pandemic.

      A big concern among citizens and the government is the possibility of an increase in cases. Both Benson and Jacobs share this concern. Benson stated, “I think this holiday season you will see a spike in the numbers because people will be traveling to see their families or coming home from college.” Jacobs agreed with this by saying, “I think cases will rise after the holiday. It all depends on how families and friends take care of the situation.” While she did agree with Benson, she also said that she believes families are being more cautious and this may actually decrease the number of cases.

     Governors have restricted big groups due to the possibilities that one or more may contract COVID and they are trying everything they can to prevent this from happening. However, families are willing to take the risk and are still making the trip.

      Though there is a possibility of increased cases, there are many precautions people can take in order to decrease the amount of cases that are produced. Proffitt spoke on this saying, “Yeah, absolutely. I won’t be home, I will be at my brother’s house. But if we go out to the store or anything, we will definitely be socially distancing and wearing masks.” Jacobs agreed with her by saying, “During this holiday season, my family is taking precautions to stay safe. All of my family who is coming to visit has been very careful this year due to COVID   and we plan to stay as safe as possible. We definitely will take precautions in order to keep the entire family safe.” However, Benson disagreed. She stated, “No I do not plan on social distancing, face masks or COVID testing. We are all related and most of us don’t care.”

      It is said that after the first five days after the mask mandate that the daily growth rate had slowed by .9% and at three weeks it had increased to 2%.

     Black Friday is an event in which almost all items in stores have had huge percentages taken off their price, therefore making them cheaper. While this event is held every year, this year it has been scaled back in-person due to the pandemic. Jacobs spoke on this saying, “Online shopping has become a huge factor in our everyday lives and we tend to not shop in person anymore.” She then said, “It will be unfortunate for small businesses because they might not have online programs and lose money.”

     Proffitt agreed with her saying, “I think most people will be shopping online. It’s so much easier and you don’t have to worry about coming in contact with any people.”

     In a shopping survey from Deloitte, it was shown that 51% of shoppers feel anxious about shopping in-person, and 64% of their budget is expected to be spent online.

     Several businesses and organizations are now quarantining products after they are delivered. People have noticed this and have started to participate as well. Jacobs agreed with this saying, “I plan to quarantine my purchased products for a while after they have been delivered.” She then stated, “My family has been doing this since Corona started. I know Covid-19 does not live on surfaces for very long but I just chose to be as safe as possible.”

COVID is said to survive 24 hours on cardboard boxes and up to three days on plastic containers after delivery. However, it’s important to know that the amount of virus detectable on a surface reduces sharply with time.

    While there are many restrictions and alterations to plans, many families have found ways around them and still plan to celebrate Thanksgiving with their loved ones. Only time will tell the consequences.