THE BEST SELLERS’ LIST- Stay Home! Best Sellers teams up with CDC to help you have a safe holiday next week


By Thomas Sellers Jr.

In the almost 80-year history of the holiday Thanksgiving, we haven’t had to enter the sacred occasion under the cloud of a pandemic.
Our leaders in the House of Representatives didn’t envision this when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the amendment on Dec. 26, 1941. That amendment established the fourth Thursday in November as the Federal Thanksgiving Day holiday.
Now Nov. 26, 2020 is here and we’re trying to celebrate this unique Thanksgiving within regulations of the Center of Disease Control. This week’s Best Sellers’ List is here to help with a few last-second reminders. I will focus on five categories essential to Thanksgiving. I will rank them by importance and give my advice on how to stay safe today and during other gatherings over the next 5 weeks. Let’s all stay safe and try to reach 2021 to finally put the year 2020 in the rearview mirror.

  1. Transportation
    Your chances of getting COVID-19 while traveling depends not only on the length of the trip and the number of stops, but also on whether you and those around you take precautions, such as wearing masks and staying at least 6 feet away from other people.
    Airports, bus stations, train stations, and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus through respiratory droplets or on surfaces. These are also places where it can be hard to keep your distance. In general, the longer you are around a person with COVID-19 (even if they do not have symptoms), the more likely you are to get infected.
    Lowest Risk
    Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
    Short trips by car with members of your household with no stops along the way
    More Risk
    Longer trips by car or RV with one or more stops along the way
    Even More Risk
    Trips by car or RV with people who are not in your household
    Long-distance train or bus trips
    Direct flights
    Highest Risk
    Flights with layovers
    Traveling on a cruise ship or river boat
    BEST SELLERS’ SUGGESTION: If you live near family, call ahead of time and see if anybody has tested positive for coronavirus. If the coast is clear, head on over to the house. If you live far away, try cooking dinner at your home. As a man who hates driving, it’s best to grab a seat on your own couch and only get up to grab you plate from your own kitchen.
  2. Lodging
    Speaking of staying home, it is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Spending time with people you live with is less risky than doing things and spending time with people not from your household. When traveling overnight, check your accommodations’ COVID-19 prevention practices before you go.
    Lowest Risk
    Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
    More Risk
    A house or cabin with people from your household (e.g., vacation rentals)
    Even More Risk
    Hotels or multi-unit guest lodgings (e.g., bed and breakfasts)
    Staying at a family member’s or friend’s home
    A house or cabin with people that are not in your household
    Highest Risk
    Shared spaces with many people and shared bathroom facilities (e.g., dormitory-style hostels)
    BEST SELLERS’ SUGGESTION: Once again I’m going to have go with staying home. It is a global pandemic. So that means from Memphis to Millington to Germantown to Germany to Brighton in England, COVID-19 could be behind the desk to greet you. Coronavirus could be a part of the menu for food service. Increase your chances of being safe by lodging at your residence.
  3. Gatherings
    Here is what the CDC suggests if you must have folks over your house for Thanksgiving or you must attend a holiday party. Guests should be aware of these considerations and ask their host what mitigation measures will be in place during the gathering. Hosts should consider the following:
    Check the COVID-19 infection rates in areas where attendees live on state, local, territorial, or tribal health department websites. Based on the current status of the pandemic, consider if it is safe to hold or attend the gathering on the proposed date.
    Limit the number of attendees as much as possible to allow people from different households to remain at least 6 feet apart at all times. Guests should avoid direct contact, including handshakes and hugs, with others not from their household.
    Host outdoor rather than indoor gatherings as much as possible. Even outdoors, require guests to wear masks when not eating or drinking.
    Avoid holding gatherings in crowded, poorly ventilated spaces with persons who are not in your household.
    Increase ventilation by opening windows and doors to the extent that is safe and feasible based on the weather, or by placing central air and heating on continuous circulation.
    BEST SELLERS’ SUGGESTION: Call all your family and friends and tell them to stay home. If you don’t have the guts to tell your loved one, “No,” tell them you were recently tested for COVID-19 and you’re waiting on results. That should do the trick.
  4. Food
    OK, we all know food is the centerpiece of Thanksgiving. The more closely you interact with others, the more people you interact with, and the longer those interactions, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. Your chances of getting COVID-19 while eating out also depends on whether you and those around you take steps to protect yourself and others, such as wearing masks and staying 6 feet away from people outside your household. Dining options that involve touching shared serving utensils, handles, buttons, or touchscreens also increase exposure risk. Before dining at a restaurant, check the restaurant’s COVID-19 prevention practices.
    Lowest Risk
    Bringing your own food and drinks
    Using drive-thru, delivery, and curbside pick-up options
    Wear a mask when interacting with restaurant employees
    More Risk
    Picking up take-out food or drink inside of a restaurant
    Eating outside at a restaurant where:
    Distancing at least 6 feet is possible
    Servers and other restaurant staff wear masks
    Diners wear masks when not eating or drinking
    Self-service options that minimize touching of surfaces, such as touchless drink dispensers
    Even More Risk
    Eating inside at a restaurant where:
    Dining area is well ventilated
    Distancing at least 6 feet is possible
    Servers and other restaurant staff wear masks
    Diners wear masks when not eating or drinking
    Self-service options that require limited touching of surfaces, such as touch-screen drink dispensers or use of touchpads for ordering
    Highest Risk
    Eating inside at a restaurant where:
    Dining area is poorly ventilated
    Distancing at least 6 feet is not possible
    Where servers and restaurant staff do not wear masks
    Diners do not wear masks
    Self-service options that require extensive touching of surfaces, such as buffets
    BEST SELLERS’ SUGGESTION: If there is a signature dish you must have for the holiday, get your cook to FEDEX the food to your house. Once the food arrives, say a prayer over it and enjoy. My mother will be sending several sweet potato pies over the Southeastern United States over the next month. The reason for shipping food across the world is to allow you to stay home. It is time to learn how to cook to keep yourself safe this Thanksgiving.
  5. Football
    OK, the CDC didn’t have any suggestions for the NFL’s triple header. But we know football is a vital part of the holiday. The Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions have been a part Thanksgiving for nearly a century. The Lions started in 1934 and the Cowboys joined the fun in 1966. Recently the NFL added a third game for the late-night nap on the couch. Here is the rundown for Thanksgiving 2020.
    12:30 p.m.: Houston Texans at Detroit Lions, CBS.
    4:30 p.m.: Washington Football Team at Dallas Cowboys, FOX.
    8:20 p.m.: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers, NBC.
    BEST SELLERS’ SUGGESTION: No, I’m not going to suggest staying home. The plan here is to grab your favorite chair and beverage and hop in front of any TV to watch all three games.
    Oh you have a question? How could you watch the game from your favorite chair if you’re visiting someone?
    Oh that is easy, if you don’t feel like pulling that piece of furniture around from place to place, the best option is to leave it where it is.
    Now have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving from The Best Sellers’ List.
    THOMAS SELLERS JR. is the editor of The Millington Star and both the sports editor and a weekly personal columnist for West 10 Media/Magic Valley Publishing. Contact him by phone at (901) 433-9138, by fax to (901) 529-7687 and by email to