Mid-South families prepare for Thanksgiving amid concern for COVID-19

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Kitchen tables all over the Mid-South will be looking different this year as families celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, making the changes because of the coronavirus.

With just days left to grab the final ingredients for a happy holiday, on a rainy Sunday morning, people descended on a Kroger at the corner of S. Mendenhall Rd. and Sanderlin Ave. in Memphis.

The coronavirus is forcing strict recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that includes limits on the size of gatherings.

“No big thanksgiving at all,” said Michael Martin, a shopper. “It’ll just be my wife, and (me), and my oldest son.”

In addition to smaller circles, the CDC recommends celebrating with just those in your household, not traveling, bringing your own plates and utensils, getting tested for COVID-19 as a fail-safe and eating outside.

“We are planning on keeping it small and going to our family’s land,” said Sara Allen.

Allen was loading groceries into the trunk of her vehicle while holding her son James, a toddler.

Allen said she and her family were planning on eating outside.

“We have kids and they love being outside so it kind of works for everybody,” she said.

Arman Sahakyan said he planned on working through the holiday.

“We’re in a tough situation,” said Sahakyan. “…[Y]ou want to celebrate with friends, with family, but … you’re limited.”

It is an unusual dilemma that families find themselves in but many seemed to understand the sacrifice.

“I feel like I’m blessed,” Martin said. “I still have a job, I still have a home, still have my immediate family, but it’s just not like it usually is.”

Health experts also recommend that, if you must travel for the holiday, to make sure you’re doing the simple things like washing your hands, wearing a mask and social distancing.