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Employers Can Pay it Forward on Thanksgiving

  • Published
  • 25 November 2020
  • Category
  • General

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, public health officials are urging Americans to stay home for Thanksgiving, upending the traditions of families and friends in the short term but potentially preserving valued relationships for years to come.

At least one survey shows this recommendation may be having an effect. The New York Times reports 27 percent of Americans interviewed by the global data-and-survey firm Dynata plan to get together with people outside of their household, which implies that nearly three-fourths of respondents will remain in some type of protective bubble.

On Nov. 20-22, more than 3 million people went through U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) airport checkpoints – far less than the number of travelers on the weekend before Thanksgiving last year but still significant given the circumstances. Many more will be driving over the holiday weekend: AAA projects 47.8 million automobile travelers will account for 95 percent of all holiday travel.

Meanwhile, after the dinner table is cleared, dishes are done and games are over, employers will be wondering how an anticipated post-holiday COVID-19 spike may affect their business as they begin the final lap of a tumultuous year.

What Can You Do?

Here are some recommendations to support safe celebrations:

  1. Travel Wisely
    If driving, wipe down all surfaces with disinfectant, especially if the car is rented. Stop only when necessary and avoid crowded travel hubs. Always follow safety precautions: wear a mask, stay 6 feet apart and use hand sanitizer. To avoid peak travel times, leave early. If flying or taking another form of public transportation, advise employees to verify whether COVID-19 safety precautions are enforced before they leave home.
  1. Returning Home
    The safest plan is to stay put, but many young adults are returning home from COVID-19 hot spots. For those planning to celebrate with family, a 14-day quarantine may need to be practiced if arriving from another state. Many college students have been getting tested before leaving campus and remaining there if they test positive. Younger people who are asymptomatic can unknowingly transmit the virus to older, more vulnerable family members.
  1. Drop It Off or Eat Outdoors
    If employees live within a reasonable driving distance of Thanksgiving guests, suggest a food swap. With precautions, special dishes that are carefully prepared can be dropped at the door, similar to a takeout delivery service. If eating with others, an outdoor get-together with individual, self-serve portions and separate utensils is recommended unless the weather is too severe.
  1. Go Virtual
    Video streaming services are a great way to connect. If they are losing their appeal, limit screen time. Consider periodic check-ins during highlights of the day…carving the turkey, sharing what you are thankful for, watching football, eating pie, hosting a trivia game, looking at photos from the family album or any other tradition.
  1. Send a Positive Message
    Encourage employees to share recipes with co-workers and upload celebratory photos on the company’s internal communications platform. Suggest teams start a text-chain to share their well wishes. With Thanksgiving being downsized this year, it’s important to broaden company outreach efforts.

One of the most important things for an employer to do be is informed. WorkCare provide resources on our COVID-19 webpage and through our free weekly webinar. Expressing thanks for your employees’ contributions and fostering a healthy and safe workplace environment is a meaningful way to celebrate this important holiday.

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