Serve up safety during this holiday season

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Editor's Note: The information published in this story is accurate at the time of publication. Always refer to for UAB's current guidelines and recommendations relating to COVID-19.

thanksgiving feast retro 2020 insideOn Thanksgiving Day 1978, Ollie Griffie Jr. (left) and Beverly Willingham, UAB Hospital dietetics supervisors, assisted in serving 700 lbs. of turkey, more than 300 lbs. of sweet potatos and 15 cases of cranberries to patients in celebration of the holiday.

This year, the holidays will look a bit different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. UAB Hospital and campus employees follow strict protocols for social distancing, cleaning and wearing personal protective equipment, and UAB Medicine facilities still are implementing visitor restrictions.

For those considering traveling or spending time with families for Thanksgiving or other upcoming holidays, UAB experts caution that typical holiday activities can further the spread of COVID-19.

“Gathering ‘as usual’ for Thanksgiving traditions could be especially dangerous this year as this type of event has the potential to transmit COVID,” said Ellen Eaton, M.D., assistant professor of infectious diseases. “Unfortunately, most Thanksgiving activities like eating and talking are usually done indoors and without masks. They are a perfect environment to spread COVID-19 across multiple attendees.”

To ensure family, friends and loved ones remain safe this holiday season, follow safe practices such as masking, practicing 6 feet of social distancing, limiting gathering sizes and moving all activities outdoors. Jeanne Marrazzo, M.D., recommends quarantining before travel, testing responsibly and practicing mindfulness while around others.