Locals make plans for uncommon Thanksgiving

Preparing Thanksgiving community dinner

MID-HUDSON – During a year of isolation, due to the COVID pandemic, large social gatherings have been discouraged. 

And Thanksgiving is no exception with Governor Andrew Cuomo issuing a 10-person limit for holiday get-togethers. 

Linda Jansen of Middletown is going to abide by the rules with seven for dinner when she hosts her son and his family. Later in the day, she will visit her brother-in-law and his family. Normally, without a year of a deadly, contagious disease, Jansen would have a gathering of 25-30 people.

 “It’s going to be very difficult,” said Jansen, of the downsized holiday tradition this year. “I have eight sisters and two brothers, 16 nephews, 17 nieces, great-nephews and great-nieces.”

Orange County District Attorney Dave Hoovler last week conducted a news conference, urging residents to be safe and responsible with alcohol through New Year’s Day, 2021.

For Thanksgiving, he pledged to do the same with a small gathering. “My plan is to basically be respectful, be reasonable and responsible across the board,” said Hoovler, the father of three.  “We are going to do our traditional, small Thanksgiving. Nothing really changes for us; that’s generally how we do it.”

Linda Zalanowski, of the Town of Newburgh, has for about the last six years visited her son in Massachusetts for the holiday. Now she doesn’t want to interrupt her life in quarantine.

“We won’t be able to do that because of the quarantine for when we go up there and when we come back,” she said.

So Zalanowski will have a small dinner with her husband and possibly her daughter, who lives in New York City.

“I am not sure I know how to make a turkey,” she said, “but I am going to try.”

Fewer people helps reduce the risk of easy transmission indoors, so Hoovler urges county residents to be responsible for themselves and others.

“Wash your hands, make sure you socially distance and be responsible. And I think we should be OK,” he said.  “That’s what we have to do.”

Jansen has been accustomed to large holiday gatherings, but this year will change that. And the break is something she thinks we could all learn from.

“I hope this year was a trial for everybody,” she said. “We’re going to accept this, get the challenge and go on to be better next year.”

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