SUNNYSIDE —Thanksgiving holiday is being seen as a potential COVID-19 super spreader with people traveling and gathering at home for the holiday.

As a result of the serious spikes in COVID-19 cases across the state and the nation since Halloween, Governor Jay Inslee issued more warnings on Nov. 15, to avoid holiday traveling and large family gatherings to help lower the spread of the virus.

While the warnings are difficult to grasp in a community of large families, being safe, avoiding exposure, and using common sense is the message, Pastor Mike Souza relayed to his Sunnyside Presbyterian congregation.

He admits people have a certain level of freedom. “We can’t ban their large family gathering. We can only encourage them to avoid large gatherings,” he stated.

“We recently talked about being spreaders of hope at one of our church sessions, rather than super spreaders of fear,” Souza encouraged, “We can follow the guidelines and protect ourselves.”

To lead by example, Souza, his wife Becky, and daughter Lacey will stay home, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and enjoying their time together.

Also planning a small family gathering is Sunnysider Lynn Resendez. She would normally be dining with her children and family, but not this year.

“I’m staying home because my husband, Lupe, recently had surgery and isn’t allowed to travel,” Resendez remarked.

However, she is determined to spend the holiday with her sister who lives in Moses Lake. “I haven’t shared a holiday with my sister in years. She has moved to the east side and we’re going to have dinner at my house,” Resendez declared.

As the oft repeated refrain and the urging from Gov. Inslee has been to avoid large gatherings, wear masks, and practice social distancing, and, if possible, hold events outside, Resendez is mindful of the safety measures.

“I’m aware of the health risks and I wear my mask and social distance,” she acknowledged.

Sunnyside resident Sherrie Holden is foregoing her usual large gathering with her children and grandchildren and it has been a tough choice.

Holden won’t be gathering at her granddaughter’s home this Thanksgiving as originally planned. She and her husband have agreed they will stay at home this year.

“It’s too risky, so we’ll do a lot of calling and FaceTiming together,” she added.

Not the same of course, she admitted, “…but better to be well, and plan for gatherings when its safe,” she said.

Julia Hart can be reached at 509-837-4500, ext. 123 or at jhart@sunnysidesun.com

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