Springfield health leaders offer guidance for Thanksgiving celebrations, outline risks of various activities

Springfield-Greene County Health Department logo
Springfield-Greene County Health Department logo(KY3)
Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 10:22 AM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Leaders urge the Springfield community to take steps in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 this Thanksgiving.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department has released guidance for celebrating Thanksgiving safely. CLICK HERE for the full guidance.

Health leaders say many of the activities associated with a traditional Thanksgiving celebration could increase your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19.

The health department outlined risks associated with various activities and celebrations over Thanksgiving.

Lower-risk activities

These activities allow you and your family to celebrate safely:

  • Having a small dinner with people who live in your household.
  • Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, (especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19), and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others.
  • Having a virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family.
  • Holiday shopping online rather than in person.
  • Watching sports events, parades, and movies from home.
  • Use non-contact forms of greeting instead of handshakes / hugs.

Moderate-risk activities

Use caution when engaging in these activities and remember to take preventative measures:

  • Having a small outdoor dinner with family and friends who live in your community. Lower your risk by following CDC’s recommendations on hosting gatherings or cook-outs.
  • Have a shorter event, rather than having activities all day or over multiple days.
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching pumpkins or picking apples, wearing masks is required, and people are able to maintain physical distancing.
  • Participating in small outdoor events or activities with safety precautions in place including physical distancing and masking.

Higher-risk activities

Avoid these higher risk activities to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19:

  • Going shopping in crowded stores.
  • Participating in or being a spectator at a crowded events or activities such as parades.
  • Attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household.
  • Using alcohol or drugs, which can cloud judgement and increase risky behaviors

The guidance also includes resources like food preparation guidance, tips for coping with COVID-19 stress this holiday season, a guide to having tough conversations around the pandemic and a risk assessment tool to help families evaluate their holiday plans.

The City of Springfield, Greene County and the Springfield-Greene County Health Department held a joint media briefing on Wednesday to update the community on the current response to COVID-19 and to urge caution ahead of the holiday next week.

Local leaders and health officials say we’re in the midst of the second wave of the coronavirus in the Ozarks.

“It is clear that we have reached our greatest crisis moment in Springfield’s response to this deadly virus,” said Springfield Mayor Ken McClure. “Like many cities across the country, we are forced to remain hypervigilant to ensure that our health care systems do not get completely overwhelmed.

“I know that can make things sounds a little hopeless, but there are bright spots, I do want people to recognize that. The news of two vaccines with better than 90% efficacy is so encouraging. It’s the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Springfield-Greene County Health Department Director Clay Goddard.

“But we’re still in the tunnel. We have a little bit further to go, we’re in the finishing stretch. But we have no choice but to get through this last stretch together.”

“I come before you today and I ask you to remember, that in the times of trouble, we are often called upon to sacrifice in the ways that we did not imagine we would. I hope that we can all find ways to remain present in the lives of those that we love,” said Greene County Presiding Commissioner Bob Dixon.

For more information on safe celebrations urged by Springfield city leaders, call the coronavirus hotline at 417-874-1211 or email

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