Evers: Skip those Thanksgiving get togethers

State officials recommended only sharing meals within your household
A holiday and coronavirus graphic.
A holiday and coronavirus graphic.(WLUC/CDC)
Published: Nov. 12, 2020 at 3:36 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - With exactly two weeks to go before Thanksgiving, Gov. Tony Evers is urging the people of Wisconsin to stay home for the holiday and avoid those traditional get togethers.

“I know this upcoming holiday season is going to be especially tough,” said Governor Tony Evers. "But the actions we take now will ensure that we can celebrate together once this pandemic is over.

Citing the skyrocketing spread of COVID-19 and record hospitalizations, Evers joined the Dept. of Health Services to ask everyone to only pass the potatoes to people in their immediate household.

“Our hospitals are overwhelmed, our health care workers are exhausted, and too many families have lost a loved one. Wisconsin is at a critical juncture right now,” DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said.

Willems Van Dijk argued the agency wasn’t saying Wisconsinites shouldn’t celebrate altogether. In fact, she pointed to a list of ideas to make sure people still can spend time with their loved ones. Those include:

  • Sharing meals with people who live in your household.
  • Preparing meals or treats and delivering to loved ones in a way that avoids contact.
  • Having virtual gatherings with friends and family.
  • Shopping online or ordering delivery.
  • Watching sports, events, or parades from home.

Evers and DHS' call isn’t new for state officials. DHS Secretary Andrea Palm said during an October 20 teleconference that people should limit Thanksgiving dinners to people within their households.

It also echoes one from Public Health Madison and Dane County earlier this week. At that time, local health officials were taking exception to recently released guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While the CDC noted Thanksgiving in Canada, which is celebrated in October, led to clusters of cases linked to family gathers, the federal agency stated a safe Thanksgiving is possible. Taking it a step further, Washington state deputy secretary of health Lacy Fehrenbach added that spending time with loved ones is important to one’s health.

Just a day after the new guidance was released, Public Health Madison & Dane Co. publicly rejected their recommendations, telling people to only celebrate with the people in their household.

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