With the island still under the governor’s safer-at-home directive, many residents are trying to figure out how they can celebrate Thanksgiving with their families — without being with their families.

For Okkodo High School junior, Alexia Quejado, Thanksgiving will definitely be different this year.

“My family and I have always celebrated yearly. I do enjoy cooking with my grandma and making the food we’re going to eat for dinner,” Quejado said.

As they plan this year's celebrations, his family is making modifications, he said. 

“They’re really cautious about the whole COVID thing, so I think it’s just the family members who are just at my house right now,” he said. “It’s not going to be as fun or as memorable, I guess, because not everyone’s going to be there.”

Alfredo Tindugan, Okkodo High School choir teacher, said Thanksgiving celebrations have naturally changed over the years both in the number of people and the loved ones with whom they’re shared.

“When I was in middle school we used to have big feasts and all the families joined in but now simple gatherings are not too big,” he said.

As he’s gotten older, he’ learned to appreciate the presence of loved ones, which he noted can be done today using technology.

“Technology is so strong these days we can even celebrate Thanksgiving through Zoom,” Tindugan said. “It’s the (physical) presence we’re missing but we’re still there, celebrating as a whole.” 

As part of the Department of Public Health and Social Services pandemic guidelines, as well as the governor’s directives, residents can’t gather with others outside of the people with whom they live.

Additionally, officials said social gatherings are limited to groups of five people.

For Kayah Untalan, that means the traditional celebration at her aunt’s house won’t be allowed unless the governor lifts the restrictions.

“Before COVID, my family used to visit my auntie’s house every year for Thanksgiving,” Untalan said, adding how her family members would bring food and share it with others that joined the celebration. 

When asked how they felt about precautions being taken for this year’s celebrations, Annastashia Leon Guerrero and several other teens advised their peers to respect the social distancing guidelines.

“Actually follow the 6-feet rule and not invite as many people” Leon Guerrero said.

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