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Due To COVID-19, Warnings From Health Experts, Thanksgiving Figures To Be More Subdued Event This Year

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging Americans to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 during the upcoming holiday season.

Already, many are saying they'll scale back plans for Thanksgiving gatherings, CBS2's Tony Aiello reported Tuesday.

Stew Leonard's is preparing for a Thanksgiving unlike any other, after hearing from customers such as Ardys Persson, who expects half the crowd she hosted last year.

"I have a son in college who's been told he has to have a test before he can say hi to grandma. I don't think my in-laws plan to come at all. It's a terrible year all around," said Persson, who lives in Southport, Conn.


CEO Stew Leonard Jr. said the company surveyed 4,000 customers about their Thanksgiving plans.

"Nine out of 10 of them said it's smaller this year," Leonard said.

So Leonard had to talk turkey with his supplier, a family farm in Lehigh Valley, Pa.

"Could you do us a favor and send us 20% less of the big turkeys and 20% more of the smaller ones, around 15, 16 pounds," Leonard said.

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The grocery chain will also offer smaller "grab and go" holiday meals, geared for four, rather than eight.

The CDC says low-risk holiday gatherings and activities include dinner with just your household, virtual dinner with relatives, and watching sports events and parades online.


If you expand the guest list beyond your household, health experts say to assess the risk to your family members and invite guests carefully.

"What are their own risk factors? Who are they actually interacting with? Some people have high-risk jobs. Some people are out and about. Is grandma going to be coming? Is a guest going to be coming who has got a chronic condition?" said family physician Dr. Natasha Bhuyan.

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"I think there's always a fear that the older members of the family are going to be exposed by the younger members of the family because the younger members may be asymptomatic and the older members would be the most vulnerable," Westchester County Executive George Latimer said.

With coronavirus rates ticking up, it won't be the holiday many are accustomed to.

The CDC says if you expand your list beyond immediate family, it's best to gather outdoors if space and weather permit.

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