Chicago Sets Rules for Thanksgiving

As coronavirus cases surge, mayor asks residents to buy small turkeys
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2020 3:35 PM CST
Chicago: Buy a Small Turkey This Year
People walk by outdoor plastic dining bubbles on Fulton Market in Chicago last month.   (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

Like everything else this year, Thanksgiving is going to be different, Mayor Lori Lightfoot told Chicago on Thursday. The city imposed a mandatory, 10-person limit on social gatherings—even those held outdoors—in time for the holiday and issued a stay-at-home advisory, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. During the pandemic's second wave, the city's average daily caronavirus caseload is up to 1,920, 36% higher than a week ago and the highest level yet. Illinois set another record Thursday with more than 12,000 new infections. "While this is tough—this whole year has been tough—you must cancel the normal Thanksgiving plans," Lightfoot said. "If we continue on the path we're on and you, me, and others don’t step up and do more ... we could see at least a thousand more Chicagoans die" by the end of the year.

The stay-at-home advisory will run 30 days, starting Monday. In addition to canceling traditional Thanksgiving festivities, it calls for Chicagoans to instead use technology to communicate over the holidays. Small gatherings in homes should not include anyone from outside the immediate household, not even "trusted family or friends." Only essential workers, such as health care or child care providers, should be invited in. People should leave home only for school or work, per WGN, and for essential errands, such as picking up food or prescriptions. Also, Lightfoot said, just buy a small turkey this year. The mayor herself has shut down large gatherings while driving around the city. "The gains we have made this past year have been the result of our willingness to work together," Lightfoot said, per WMAQ. (The city rented hotel rooms early in the pandemic to take the pressure off hospitals.)

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