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Residents look to celebrate amid COVID

While the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving during the COVID-19 pandemic is staying home or going virtual, some area residents planned to gather with family today while still taking steps to stay safe.

Vienna resident Melissa Wise said she’ll be gathering with her mother who lives down the street as well as her brothers, who live in three different states.

Wise said she’s been monitoring CDC guidelines on how to stay safe when gathering.

“We’re going to try to space out in the house to be able to be together,” she said.

In a news release last week, the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department acknowledged the importance of spending time with family but asked people to take precautions, including wearing a mask while not eating, washing hands frequently and wiping down surfaces.

Wise said her family doesn’t plan on wearing masks unless someone has symptoms of the virus.

“And if they’re that sick, they’re not coming anyway,” she said.

Wise said she and her family take the virus seriously, but this is one of the only times they get together.

“There’s not really an end in sight (for the pandemic), so you’re indefinitely putting off seeing your family until whenever,” she said.

Everybody has to do what’s best for their family, Wise said, and “this is what’s best for ours.”

Parkersburg resident Nicki Hardman said a group of about 10 people, immediate family and their spouses, planned to get together at her parents’ house today.

“Nothing changed. That’s the way we do it every year,” she said. “We don’t get together that much as a family. I don’t think we want to give up that time together.”

That could change if someone starts to feel sick, Hardman said. The potential effect on her mother, if she were to contract the virus, is “always in the back of my mind, of course,” she said.

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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