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CDC advises wearing masks indoors if Thanksgiving guests are inside your home

A CDC expert emphasized that their Thanksgiving guidance, which advises against traveling, consists of "strong" recommendations but not requirements

Updated: November 19, 2020 - 2:47pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising households with guests in their home for Thanksgiving to have everyone wear masks. 

Erin Sauber-Schatz, head of the Community Intervention and Critical Population Task Force, encouraged families to consider celebrating Thanksgiving outdoors or wear masks if having dinner indoors with guests.

"If people haven't been actively living with you within the 14 days you are celebrating, they are not considered a member of your household and therefore you need to take those extra precautions, even wearing masks within your own home," she said during a press briefing on Thursday.

Henry Walke, the CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager, recommended wearing masks inside the home if someone with an "underlying condition" is inside. 

Walke said the CDC is recommending not to travel for Thanksgiving, especially if it involves using forms of public transportation. The agency released updated guidelines for Thanksgiving, which Walke said are not requirements but "strong" recommendations. 

He told reporters that "more and more scientific data is showing that masks can provide some protection to the wearer" in addition to the individuals around them.

"They may actually be bringing infection with them to that small gathering and not even know it," Walke said on the press call. "We're still looking into this. We're still studying the sort of overall impact of small gatherings but I would say that...we’re very concerned about people who are coming together sort of outside of their household bubble."