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Thanksgiving is a time when many families celebrate together. The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) is encouraging all North Dakotans to use standard COVID-19 health precautions and celebrate virtually with extended family this year.

“There are several factors that contribute to the risk of getting infected or infecting others with COVID-19 at a holiday celebration,” said Disease Control Director Kirby Kruger. “If you follow proper precautions, celebrating during the holidays can be done with less risk.”

Lower-risk activities

  • A small dinner with the people who live with you.
  • A virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family.
  • Shopping online or purchasing gift cards from local businesses, rather than shopping in person the Friday after Thanksgiving. You could even book now for a trip you’ll take together later.
  • Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and delivering them in a way that doesn't involve contact with others.

Medium-risk activities

  • A small dinner with a few extended family members who live in your community. Lower your risk by following CDC recommendations for hosting gatherings.
  • Small outdoor sporting events, if you follow safety precautions.

Avoid higher-risk activities

  • Traveling out of town.
  • Shopping in crowded stores, especially just before, on, or after Thanksgiving.
  • Attending or participating in crowded races or parades.
  • Attending medium or large indoor gatherings with people who do not live with you.

The North Dakota University System is also requesting that, when possible, students stay on campus over the Thanksgiving break to limit the spread of COVID-19 to family and loved ones. For those students who choose to travel, limit activity and minimize contact with others two weeks prior to any travel or gatherings. The campuses will have testing events before and after the break, and students are encouraged to attend the available testing on campus or in their community.

Be diligent about practicing mitigation strategies which include masks, social distancing and hand hygiene. Continue to check with your individual campus for any observances or special arrangements that your campus may have over the holiday.

For more information on COVID-19 in North Dakota, visit health.nd.gov/coronavirus.

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