PORTLAND, Ore. — Folks gathered around the table, passing plates and telling tales. It's a longstanding Thanksgiving tradition many will forgo this year.
"This year, there's going to be none of that," said Lucie Drum, who has always hosted large Thanksgiving dinners.
"The place would be packed and every dish would be used," she explained.
But this Thanksgiving, the community education manager for American Medical Response will keep it small.
"I'm just going to be happy that my family and extended family is going to be safe," she said.
It's exactly what many health experts hope people do this holiday season.
"The problem with eating is that people take their masks off... when people take their masks off, the risk will double or triple for infection," said Dr. Richard Corsi, an internationally recognized expert on the transmission of COVID-19 through the air.
His advice is to spend Thanksgiving with only those in your immediate household. If you do have people over, wear a mask even during dinner.
"I know it's difficult to do this but, lower your mask, take a bite of food, put your mask back on while you chew and talk and just get in the mode of doing that," Corsi said.
And, if possible, eat outside. If you can't be outside, bring that outdoor air in. Experts recommend up to five to six air exchanges per hour.
"In a thing like a large living room or dining room where people might be gathering, a combination of windows open and a portable air cleaner blasting away might get you up to that five or six air changes per hour," Corsi said.
Also think about picking up a good air filter. That alone could stop infected aerosol particles from moving room to room.
"If your mechanical system is on and you don't have a good filter, the particles can go through your mechanical system and your filter and then spread our through the supply vents across your entire house," Corsi said.
They are steps you can take to reduce the risk if you plan to have guests over. But again, health experts strongly recommend keeping your distance this year so you can celebrate together next year.