Editor’s note: This editorial expresses the views of the Log Cabin Democrat editorial board, which is composed of Frank Leto, Jeanette Anderton and Alex Kienlen.

This editorial originally appeared in the Log Cabin Democrat Nov. 21

Have a happy, safe Thanksgiving

The Log Cabin Democrat wishes everyone a happy Thanksgiving. We urge everyone to follow the Arkansas Department of Health guidelines for the holiday to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Please avoid large gatherings, venues with poor ventilation, prolonged contact with people outside your household and crowding.

The Arkansas Department of Health offers the following tips for a safe, happy holiday:

Be socially responsible when planning holiday activities. Even if you may not be at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19, you could spread the virus to vulnerable family members or members of your community. Ask elderly or at-risk family members if they feel comfortable participating this year. Many older individuals are trying to protect themselves but do not want to upset their family. Please honor their request.

The holidays are often when people travel to celebrate with family. The Arkansas Department of Health recommends avoiding holiday travel this year and encourages you to connect virtually with your loved ones instead.

Face coverings should be worn anytime you are with people who do not reside within your household.

Avoid events and activities where large numbers of attendees are expected. If you attend events, ensure you always maintain 6-feet physical distance from anyone who does not live in your household.

The risk of COVID-19 transmission increases in crowded or poorly ventilated spaces. Therefore, indoor events have a much higher risk of transmission than outdoor events. If the event is to be held indoors, ensure there is adequate ventilation. Open windows and doors to the extent that is safe and feasible based on the weather.

Although there is no evidence that COVID-19 is spread by food, it may be spread by sharing of utensils and congregating around the food serving area. Avoid sharing of serving utensils by having one person serve food for other attendees. Ensure adequate distancing between non-household groups is available at the dinner table.

For those with loved ones in a nursing home or assisted living facility, be aware of the risk to that person if they leave their facility to attend a family gathering and are then infected with COVID-19. They also could take the disease back to their living facility and spread to others. Please take extra precautions to prevent spread to these vulnerable people.

For anyone hosting an event with attendees that do not reside within your household, the ADH offers these tips:

Evaluate the space you have available and limit the number of attendees such that all attendees can easily maintain 6-feet physical distance.

Consider asking all guests to strictly avoid contact with people outside of their households for 14 days before the gathering.

Provide face coverings for any attendee who does not have one and encourage guests to wear them.

Encourage guests to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol as they arrive and throughout the event.

To view all guidelines, visit https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov.

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