Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

November 19, 2020
Contact: John Lyon, Director of Strategic Communications (845) 638-5645
                 Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, D.O., M.P.H., CPE, DABFM, FAAFP (845) 364-2512


New City, NY - Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert remind residents that COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Rockland County and neighboring communities. It is important to remain cautious and follow recommended public health measures to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

"To keep you and your family safe during this year's Thanksgiving holiday celebration, residents should stay home and celebrate with people who live in their home. Avoid inviting family and friends to your home as the disease can easily spread from person-to-person. Alternative ways to observe the holiday, such as hosting a virtual celebration, are the best ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19," said Dr. Ruppert.

Small, indoor gatherings that bring together family members or friends from different households have become a major source of spread, causing COVID-19 'cluster' activity across the state. Because of this, the New York State (NYS) Governor issued restrictions that indoor and outdoor social gatherings at private residences will be limited to no more than 10 people. Traveling also increases one's potential to be exposed to COVID-19 and possibly spreading it to others. Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household poses the lowest risk for the spread of COVID-19. Your household is considered anyone who currently lives and shares common spaces in your housing unit (such as your house or apartment). This can include family members as well as roommates or people who are unrelated to you. College students returning home from school for the holidays should also be considered part of a different household.

To make Thanksgiving safer, follow these Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 holiday safety tips:

  • Wear a well-fitting mask with two or more layers. Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin. Make sure the mask fits snugly against the sides of your face.
  • Maintain 6 feet of distance from people who do not live with you. Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread COVID-19 or flu. Keeping 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from others is especially vital for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
  • Keep your hands clean. Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Keep hand sanitizer with you and use it when you are unable to wash your hands. Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Consider other Thanksgiving activities that can keep you and your family safe this holiday:

  • Host a virtual Thanksgiving meal with friends and family who don't live with you.
  • Watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade, play games such as a scavenger hunt, or make a Thanksgiving craft with people in your household.
  • Participate in a gratitude activity, like writing down things you are grateful for and sharing with your friends and family.
  • Go on a family walk or bike ride to get some fresh air and a great way to get some physical activity before your Thanksgiving meal.
Here are some additional safety measures to take if you plan to attend or host a Thanksgiving gathering with friends or family outside your household:

Attending a Gathering

  • Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.
  • Wear a mask and safely store it while eating and drinking.
  • Avoid going in and out of the kitchen where food is being prepared or handled.
  • Use single-use options for condiments and food containers, plates, and utensils.
  • If you are traveling, checking travel restrictions, get your flu shot, wear a mask, social distance, and wash hands often in public places.

Hosting a Gathering

  • Plan for the meal to be outdoors or open windows if dining indoors.
  • Limit the number of guests to no more than 10 people as per NYS rules.
  • Talk with guests about expectations for celebrating together beforehand.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
  • Limit the number of people in food preparation areas.
  • Have guests bring their own food and drink.
  • Have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils.

"This year's celebrations should be different from what we all consider to be normal," said County Executive Ed Day. "We understand that these restrictions and precautions may be frustrating to some, but doing what we can in our personal lives to limit the further spread of COVID-19 helps protect our entire community. It is up to each of us to do our part and celebrate as safely as possible."

For more Thanksgiving celebration safety tips, visit For COVID-19 information, local resources, or questions, call the Rockland County COVID-19 Hotline at (845) 238-1956, Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, email, or visit the county's COVID-19 webpage at