By Ronald Penh
With COVID-19 cases on the rise as we continue through the fall season, individuals are urged by health officials to take caution to prevent a surge. How will the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic impact Thanksgiving this year for our local Gardenans?
On Nov. 14, the LA County Department of Public Health reported 3,780 new cases of COVID-19 (not associated with a backlog), the highest number of cases we’ve seen since the surge in mid-July.
This has raised concern among health officials on the impact that upcoming holidays will have on the spread of COVID-19.
However, it is not only health officials that are concerned about the pandemic.
For Rui Gan, property manager, Thanksgiving will likely be spent without a large family gathering.
“Thanksgiving I think will be a time we spend at home,” Gan said.
LA Public Health advises individuals to avoid crowds and large gatherings in order to counter the spread of COVID-19.
As a result of the pandemic, Gan has made adjustments throughout the year to celebrate special events. She has used video communication services to connect with others during this time of social distancing.
“We’re probably going to try to do a Zoom or Google Hangouts event, see all the family, because that’s what we’ve been doing for birthdays through the year” Gan said. “We haven’t had people over for many months.”
Thomas Williams, 72, has steered clear from crowds throughout the year.
“There’s nothing going on that we’re going to be a part of a big crowd or something like that,” Williams said. “The biggest crowd we get is in a supermarket.”
He and his daughter will enjoy Thanksgiving within their close family circle.
“I have a son and a daughter, and between them, there are 9 children, and when we get together, that’s a family reunion,” Williams said.
Thomas’ daughter, Cherie Ford, believes that adjusting is key and taking care of priorities during the pandemic is important.
“My father and my mother both have health issues,” Ford said. “Why would I try to invite other people into their space?”
LA Public Health has issued guidance on safe ways to celebrate the upcoming holidays.
The following activities were recommended as safe alternatives to traditional ways that the holiday is spent:
- Online parties/contests (e.g. Thanksgiving meal, tree trimming)
- Car parades that comply with public health guidance for vehicle-based parades including:
- Drive by events or contests where individuals dress up or decorate their vehicles and drive by “judges” that are appropriately physically distanced
- Drive through events where individuals remain in their vehicles and drive through an area with holiday displays
- Drive-in events where individuals can receive a treat bag (limited to commercially packaged non-perishable treats) or take away items from an organizer while the participants remain in their vehicle
- Drive-in events where individuals drop off or pick up toys or other donations
- Holiday movie nights at drive-in theaters (must comply with the public health drive-in movie theater guidance)
- Live performances or concerts done at drive-in theaters (must comply with the public health drive-in movie theater protocol)
- Holiday themed meals at outdoor restaurants (must comply with the restaurant protocol)