If you insist on Thanksgiving gathering, work out COVID-19 safety measures first

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Friday, November 20, 2020
Gathering for Thanksgiving? Work out safety measures first
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If you're going to take part in a holiday get-together, a Cary psychologist says you need to have the safety conversation first.

CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- By now, we've all heard those directing the fight against the novel coronavirus say we shouldn't be getting together for the holidays.

But a Cary psychologist said she believes a whole lot of people are going to give in to the urge to gather.

"Certainly with the year we've had, still being more isolated, I think people are going to be extremely driven to have some semblance of holiday get-togethers, despite what the numbers are for COVID," said Kristen Wynns of Wynn's Family Psychology.

She said she believes human nature will lead some to break the rules and cave to peer and familial pressure.

"When it comes to close family, and in-laws, it's harder for us maybe to stick with our boundaries, or to explain ourselves without worrying about hurting feelings," she said.

But if you're going to take part in a holiday get-together there's one conversation you must have before the gathering, Wynns told ABC11.

It's the safety conversation.

And having it will ensure no one is surprised when the gathering is held.

"Hopefully, if you've talked about it in advance, they would already know," Wynns said, and she added that the conversation might sound something like this: "'OK, we decided guys, that we're all going to wear mask, at least when we're just mingling around the house.'"

Wynns suggested the rule of thumb should be to listen to those who are most uneasy, saying, "If there's someone who's more concerned or anxious, default to their level. So if they prefer everybody wears masks then everyone should wear a mask."

So, lay out the guidelines in advance and once the gathering begins, stick to them.

Wynns said that way, "If you've spelled out the plan, they're not going to show up and rip off their mask, and then look surprised when everyone gasps and says, 'What are you doing?'"

Before finalizing your plans, you might also want to review suggestions made by North Carolina public health officials.

But even if you lay out guidelines and everyone sticks to them, don't expect all of them to be happy about it.

So this year, in addition the arguments over the presidential election, expect that there will also be some philosophical disagreements about pandemic safety measures.