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How to Celebrate Thanksgiving Safely in Westchester

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Here’s what you and your loved ones can do to have a happy and healthy holiday in the county, plus a quick guide to local COVID-19 hot zones.

Like so much else this year, Thanksgiving in Westchester is shaping up to be a very different experience than many of us are used to. Even if you’ve already dressed the table and planned the perfect meal, you may be wondering exactly what you and your family may be able to do this holiday season. Luckily, we’re here to help.

“Thanksgiving was never really about the trappings. It’s always been more powerful than that. This year, let’s show thanks by keeping each other safe,” says New York Governor Andrew Cuomo via Twitter, adding that his own daughter would be attending virtually due to unsafe travel conditions. “It’s hard. But I can’t think of a better gesture of love than to say, I’m making the tough choice to keep you & our family safe. We may be physically apart but we’re spiritually together.”

To help New Yorkers maintain the good health of their communities, the state has released handy guidelines breaking down traditional holiday activities into low, moderate, and high-risk levels.

 

Low Risk Activities

Traveling outside our Westchester community is not recommended at this time. Travel restrictions are still in place for nearly all U.S. states, and unless you left home a week ago and have been quarantining this whole time, it’s probably best to have a smaller affair at home this year.

Holding a smaller gathering in your household is recommended. Between delicious make-at-home recipes and gourmet to-go menus, Westchester County is making it easier than ever to host a small, tasteful get-together. Video-chatting family and friends from other households can also make the dinner table feel a bit larger. (Digital conferencing app Zoom is even dropping its 40-minute meeting limit for Thanksgiving Day!)

When it comes to Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, plenty of local retailers are moving online this year anyway, so it’s a wonderful time to sleep in and shop from the couch in your pajamas over some leftovers. Check our handy guide for a roundup of a few of the biggest deal markets around.

Finally, while the Thanksgiving weekend has traditionally been a great time for heading to the movies, that’s obviously not the best idea this year. While Westchester theaters have been permitted to reopen for about a month now, COVID-19 hot spots put a kink in those plans, and most of the county’s local theaters remained closed. If Netflix is getting a little too overwhelming, however, many of the above listed arthouse cinemas have taken to providing patrons with free and cheap virtual screenings, perfect for family movie nights.

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Moderate Risk Activities

Small outdoor dinners with family and friends from within your community are obviously riskier than those with just your household. It might be a bit chilly, but plenty of Westchester restaurants are offering dine-in options this year while still following all mandated health and safety practices.

Other outdoor activities are also still on the table (so to speak). Visiting local farms for apple and pumpkin picking is a great idea, but Christmas tree season officially starts on Black Friday, so make sure you’re planning when and where to grab your perfect tree this year, too.

Higher Risk Activities

Respectfully, just don’t. Black Friday is already a needlessly crowded affair, and no one ever really enjoys getting up early in the cold still stuffed with turkey and literal stuffing. Avoid mass gatherings like parades, races, major sporting events, and other large or indoor gatherings.

And obviously, wear a mask.