How to Celebrate Thanksgiving Safely in the Hudson Valley This Year

Adobe Stock | Photo by EvgenyB

Even if Thanksgiving looks a little different this year, there are still ways to celebrate the festive season in the Hudson Valley.

Ready for Thanksgiving, Hudson Valley? As families and friends across the region prepare for Turkey Day, questions about everything from how many people to invite to what sort of menu to prepare arise. After all, the holiday is full of changes this year. To help you celebrate as safely as possible, here’s what you need to know about the dos and don’ts of Thanksgiving along the Hudson River.

On November 13, Governor Andrew Cuomo enacted several new regulations as part of an executive order. Rising cases of COVID-19 throughout New York State — including clusters in Orange and Rockland Counties — have prompted the governor’s office to take added precaution.

According to New York State’s website, the mid-Hudson region has the third-highest positivity rate in the state. To help lower that figure, restaurants and bars must close their doors by 10 p.m., and gatherings at private residences cannot exceed 10 people. While plans for Thanksgiving will have to be altered this year, there are several ways to retain the tradition while being both safe and compliant with Gov. Cuomo’s executive order.

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Low Risk Activities

Thanksgiving is often a time to celebrate gratitude and family bonds. Throughout the pandemic, the safest people to spend time with are the people quarantining together in the same house. Governor Cuomo urges families to have a smaller meal this year and lists a dinner with one’s own household as the safest way to celebrate.

To support this recommendation, the governor raised the maximum fine for violating social distancing protocols from $500 to $1,000. It is unclear how violations of the most recent executive order will be enforced, but, to be safe, gatherings of more than 10 people should be avoided.

Traveling to celebrate the holiday is strongly discouraged by the state. Current regulations include a mandatory 14-day quarantine after traveling to non-contiguous states with high infection rates. If out of New York for more than 24 hours, residents must be tested within three days of their return. Once back in New York, travelers must quarantine for three days and then have another test done. If both tests are negative, those impacted can exit quarantine before the two-week period concludes. Anyone traveling for less than a day has to monitor their health closely and take an at-home COVID-19 diagnostic test.


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Try New Recipes for a Household-Only Dinner

With a smaller number of guests, this year is the perfect time to experiment with recipes. Try your hand at making some alternative versions of Thanksgiving staples or take your dinner into a completely different theme. Local chefs from Hudson Valley restaurants offer tasty options like Vandouvan cauliflower or a mousseline of sweet potatoes with bold ginger flavor.

Cook Alongside Family and Friends Virtually

Another way to limit the number of people at a Thanksgiving celebration is to spend quality time with them online. Online, Orange County’s health commissioner outlines the dangers of gatherings in small, poorly ventilated areas. In other words, celebrating from afar is the safest. Setting up a video call to cook alongside your relatives, share recipes, and pass the time can make the altered holiday feel more normal.

Take a Drive to Deliver Food

Sometimes you make a dish so delicious, your family simply cannot go without it. This year, even the act of driving to a nearby relative’s house to deliver a homemade meal can mean a lot. The governor’s office suggests non-contact delivery by putting food in reusable containers and leaving them at the recipient’s door. Of course, wearing a mask and standing six feet away from the door allows for you to catch up with the lucky individual who gets to sample your culinary efforts as well.

Of course, if you’d rather take a break from the kitchen this year, several restaurants can fill in for you. Hudson Valley eateries are cooking up traditional delights across the region, with options for contactless delivery and safe pickups.

Moderate Risk Activities

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Organize an Outdoor Dinner

If you want to host a meal with family members from outside your immediate home, New York State suggests setting up a dinner outside. That being said, outdoor celebrations are still limited to 10 people. The state suggests monitoring your health closely before joining anyone’s table through either a self-diagnostic test or a visit to a testing center just before the holiday.

In terms of the actual event, spacing guests properly can allow for an outdoor meal to be enjoyed safely. It’s an opportunity to get creative with décor and even try things that would not be possible with your normal arrangement. An Pinterest-worthy, nature-themed tablescape would accent the outdoor dining experience perfectly.

Visit an Orchard or Pumpkin Patch

Outdoor spaces are ideal for socially distant fun. If you need some fresh air after a hearty meal, the Hudson Valley is filled with orchards and farms that adhere to COVID-19 guidelines. Spend some time in nature on Black Friday instead of in shopping malls and place orders online.

High Risk Activities

Hosting or attending a party with members outside of your immediate household poses a risk of spreading the coronavirus, especially if it’s a large group of people indoors. Large sporting events and crowded stores are also recommended against this year. While many of the larger holiday events in the Hudson Valley have already been canceled or modified to comply with guidelines, it’s still a good idea to heavily research any programming before attending to ensure it complies with the social distancing protocol in place in the Hudson Valley.

Related: Coronavirus in the Hudson Valley: What You Need to Know

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