Thanksgiving safety protocols to avoid spreading COVID-19 to family and friends

Tiny Pies will make thousands of pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving this year. Despite COVID-19, orders are up as more people makes plans to stay home and not travel. (Photo:Bettie Cross)

Austin’s coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are spiking. It’s a growing problem that has health experts asking people to limit their Thanksgiving celebrations this year to their immediate households.

The warning not to mingle with other people over the holidays can be tough advice to take for some families who think Thanksgiving is all about going big and sharing pie and turkey with extended family and friends. But Austin Public Health says limiting the spread of coronavirus is now even more critical, especially with the number of new cases growing quickly.

To help deal with the changes this holiday season, anyone who needs some comfort food can get it with a bite of a traditional pumpkin pie. Tiny Pies is mixing up more pies, of every size, despite coronavirus.

“A lot of people aren’t traveling, so we’re seeing a lot of people ordering who might have gone away last year,” said Amanda Wadsworth, Co-Founder of Tiny Pies.

Staying put and limiting gatherings to those living in your household is what Austin Public Health says will help reverse the upward trend in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

“The strongest advice is don’t gather with people outside of your household this Thanksgiving,” said Dr. Mark Escott, Interim Health Authority for Austin Public Health.

Dr. Escott says anyone who doesn’t follow that advice should do this instead.

“Stay home and quarantine yourself for one to two weeks beforehand. Then five days before going to visit that family member getting a PCR test to doublecheck,” said Dr. Escott. “I think if you’re going to be around those who are at high risk for serious illness or death, then you have to be very strict.”

At Tiny Pies, they’re hoping record orders mean more people will get a taste of a new tradition this Thanksgiving.

“At least you can have pie and that can be normal, like every other Thanksgiving that you’ve had. So hopefully we will be able to still bake up smiles,” said Wadsworth.

Dr. Escott’s recommendation for people who aren’t going to cutback on their Thanksgiving celebrations is to start limiting contact with others on Wednesday and continue that for the two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. He also advises people to get a COVID-19 test closer to Thanksgiving to ensure they won’t be spreading the virus to family and friends.

Austin Public Health offers free tests that the public can sign up for online.