2020-11-19 20:04

Home-cooked schemes for Thanksgiving family gatherings amid COVID-19 xO3世界播


NEW YORK (Reuters) - Masked servers will deliver plates laden with turkey and fixings to a dozen relatives separated into small pods in Kathleen Williamson's backyard in Maryland, part of her scheme to dish up family togetherness at Thanksgiving. xO3世界播


With so many holiday traditions upended by COVID-19, families are concocting ways to hold reunions with loved ones while keeping a safe distance to guard against coronavirus spread. xO3世界播


Mounting infections have reached new highs across the country, with 41 states reporting historic increases in COVID-19 cases in November, 20 with record death tolls and 26 with record hospitalizations, according to a Reuters tally of public health data. xO3世界播


In recent weeks, governors of at least 18 states have warned against holiday get-togethers and imposed rules ranging from mask mandates to tighter restrictions on indoor gatherings while awaiting a widely available, effective vaccine that medical experts say is months away. xO3世界播


"I don't want to be done in by Thanksgiving," Williamson said in an interview. "I don't want to meet my maker in our lovely hospital." xO3世界播


Williamson alternates annual holiday hosting with another set of grandparents. And 2020 is her year, when a pandemic has already killed more than 250,000 in the United States and more than 1.3 million worldwide. xO3世界播


Americans like Williamson are hungry to spend the Nov. 26 holiday with loved ones some have not seen since last Thanksgiving or since the pandemic locked down much of the nation in March. xO3世界播


Near Philadelphia, one extended family said on Facebook that after an outdoor Thanksgiving dinner those traveling from out of town will sleep in rented recreational vehicles rather than in the home's guest beds. xO3世界播


In New Jersey, another woman said online that her extended family was arranging an outdoor pot luck "so if it all goes to Hell, people can still meet to grab food and bring home." xO3世界播


Williamson, a retired foreign service officer whose posts included Central America, said, "I'm approaching this as though I'm planning a conference, and there will be kids and dogs there." xO3世界播


Her overseas career featured assignments such as arranging last-minute parties for visiting U.S. congressmen and other officials. xO3世界播


"That was training for this," Williamson said. xO3世界播


She sent ground rules for the traditional harvest feast in an email to relatives such as "PLASTIC CUPS will be used, marked with your name so you don't pick someone else's." xO3世界播


Her holiday table is typically set with her finest Waterford Crystal glasses and china plates, but this year the decor features paper plates to avoid washing up. xO3世界播


She is allowing only one other family member in the kitchen with her, the visiting grandfather, whose retirement from his medical practice has allowed him to train in culinary arts. xO3世界播


"We will put the food on the kitchen table and each pod will select a 'food getter.' WITH MASK ON," she wrote. xO3世界播


She said she would not allow gaiter masks whose effectiveness has been disputed or those with valves that fail to stop virus spread to be worn by family members, who include four senior citizens, five other adults and three pre-teens, accompanied by four dogs. xO3世界播


"Promise me you'll take your temperature before you arrive," she wrote to them in the email, adding that she had bought a temperature gun. xO3世界播


Her dos and don'ts included everything from the locations of hand sanitizers to proper bathroom use in the era of COVID-19 - "kids, put the toilet seat down before flushing." xO3世界播


She also tried to enlist volunteers to help with the myriad logistics required to ensure a safe, comfortable outdoor celebration. xO3世界播


"Someone in charge of the fire pit? That means keeping it burning and yelling at dogs that get too close to it," Williamson wrote. xO3世界播


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