On Thursday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new Thanksgiving guidance, pleading with Americans to stay home. “The safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving this year is at home with members of your household,” said Erin Sauber-Schatz, who leads the agency’s community intervention and critical population task force.
The recommendation wasn’t all that different from advice the agency had been giving for months about being careful with one’s contacts. And there are already indications that more families intend to stay home. On Friday, the number of people who passed through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints was down 60 percent from the same weekday last year, according to the T.S.A. AAA estimates road travel will fall 4.3 percent this Thanksgiving.
But coming just days before holiday travel would begin in earnest, the C.D.C. statement not only drew the ire of conservative commentators (“tyrannical government overreach,” wrote Christine Favocci in The Western Journal), but also touched a nerve for many who consider the Thanksgiving gathering as sacrosanct as any religious worship.
Sarah Caudillo Tolento, for one, will attend a celebration with 10 to 15 people at her mother’s house in Salem, Ore.
Ms. Caudillo Tolento, 32, said the recent death of her grandmother — whose last few months were defined by isolation — pushed her to embrace the opportunity to gather as family. “I’m not scared,” she said. “There’s not anyone that’s going to keep me away from being around my family.”
Anthony Peranio, 39, of Floral Park, N.Y., plans to celebrate at his mother’s house “as always,” with 15 to 20 people. “It’s beyond ridiculous what’s being asked of us as a society,” he said.