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Mass., R.I. Governors Urge Residents To Alter Thanksgiving Plans This Year Due To Coronavirus

Gov. Charlie Baker  discusses the planned closures in the Salem area for Halloween and the days leading up to it due to COVID-19, at the Mayor Jean Levesque Community Life Center in Salem, Massachusetts on Oct. 21. (Nicolaus Czarnecki/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via pool)
Gov. Charlie Baker discusses the planned closures in the Salem area for Halloween and the days leading up to it due to COVID-19, at the Mayor Jean Levesque Community Life Center in Salem, Massachusetts on Oct. 21. (Nicolaus Czarnecki/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via pool)

Gov. Charlie Baker is cautioning residents against keeping traditional Thanksgiving Day plans this year, as the coronavirus crisis in the state continues to show no signs of slowing ahead of November.

The governor said Wednesday that indoor parties and group meals with anyone outside of household members, including family, may not be safe.

"The one thing I would say is this might be a good year — and this will be very unpopular thing to say — this might be a good year not to travel," he said during an afternoon press conference.

Baker said state public health officials would issue more guidance on Thanksgiving in a few days.

That same day, the Republican was simultaneously urging revelers to stay away from Salem around Halloween. The "Witch City" is a popular destination for holiday festivities, but due to the virus, state and town officials asked people not to visit -- much to the chagrin of some business owners there worried about the economic blow the guidance would deliver.

A state over, Gov. Gina Raimondo also issued similar guidance to Rhode Islanders this week about Thanksgiving. She encouraged them to scale back their holiday plans by avoiding out-of-state travel and limiting celebrations to just those who live within the same household to stem a recent surge in new coronavirus cases.

The Democrat said Wednesday that for 14 days prior to the holiday, people planning to attend larger gatherings should do all they can to minimize their exposure to the coronavirus by skipping social gatherings, nonessential activities and travel. People should also get tested, even if they are asymptomatic, Raimondo said.

She said similar strategies for the return of college students to the state worked.

With additional reporting from The Associated Press

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