The holidays are upon us. The COVID-19 pandemic has raised stress levels for many area families uncertain how to celebrate the holidays without placing family members at risk.

Simply use common sense.

Some in government have chosen a heavy-handed approach to COVID and the holidays. Chicago's Mayor Lori Lightfoot has issued a "stay at home" advisory. The advisory, which strongly suggests that residents "cancel their traditional Thanksgiving celebrations," takes effect on Monday and lasts for 30 days.

The Providence Journal reports Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo is expected to announce holiday restrictions next week that could include another lockdown.

"That's where we're headed – full, total lockdown – if we don't start to get more serious and follow the rules," Raimondo told reporters on Thursday. "I can't see how we would not have a Thanksgiving lockdown."

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is urging residents to avoid large family gatherings. Baker goes so far as to suggest that folks who do have family gatherings refrain from singing, dancing, or shouting. Baker's guidelines also appear to suggest that older family members be excluded from any family gatherings.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued its own set of guidelines for celebrating Thanksgiving. The CDC says any family gatherings should be held out of doors if possible. The CDC also recommends that guests attending family gatherings should bring their own food, drink, and utensils.

We have been at this for eight months now. Many of us have learned to deal with the pandemic responsibly, and as a result, far fewer American deaths have been attributed to the outbreak than the 2.2 million that was feared months ago.

I am not going to tell you how to celebrate Thanksgiving. My wife and I have our own holiday to plan and it will include a small gathering of family members. By this point, you should understand what makes sense in protecting your clan from contracting the virus during the holidays.

Be responsible. Do what works safely for you and your family. Use common sense. And be thankful that, according to at least one expert, this nightmare appears to be almost over.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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