Community members, officials plead with Ohioans to stay home, reconsider Thanksgiving gatherings


MORAINE, Ohio (WDTN) – Days before Thanksgiving, officials are making their final pleas for Americans to stay home and reconsider any plans to travel or gather over the holiday weekend.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s safest to celebrate the holiday only with the people who live in your household.

With holiday travel highly discouraged, several Miami Valley residents told 2 NEWS they are not sticking with their traditional plans.

“If it wasn’t for COVID, we would be in a much bigger group,” said Pam Freeze, who lives in Moraine.

“No plans at all,” said James Anderson, another Moraine resident. “Just stay put.”

For some, this holiday will feel especially different.

“My son had COVID, was on life support for two and a half weeks,” said LaDonna Burns of Dayton. “I lost a nephew to COVID.”

Burns told 2 NEWS her nephew Rickey died of COVID-19 in July. He was 39 years old, she said.

“This COVID is no joke,” Burns said. “It’s no joke. It was a real hurt losing my nephew behind it.”

Despite the pandemic, AAA estimates as many as 50 million Americans will travel for Thanksgiving this year.

At a news conference Monday, Gov. Mike DeWine said the decisions people make over the holiday weekend and every day could cause the case count to slow – or soar.

“The future is going to be determined by, frankly, how many people we have at Thanksgiving, and if they’re in our bubble or if they’re from our household or if they’re people who have not been inside that before,” DeWine said.

Burns said she hopes others take the warnings seriously.

“I myself was one who really didn’t take heed to it, but after going through what I went through, losing my nephew and my son being on life support, it’s serious,” she said. “It’s serious. You don’t realize it until it hits home.”

Burns said her son is recovering but admitted it has been a long process.

If you absolutely must gather with people outside your household, the CDC recommends wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and celebrating outdoors if you can.

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