Mayor’s memo

How to enjoy the holidays safely

By Mayor Tim Busse

Ordinarily, November marks the start of the holiday season, and plans for Thanksgiving and other celebrations start taking shape. But 2020 is no ordinary year, and making plans probably seems harder. This year traditions may take on a new spin. I encourage you to honor those traditions in ways that are within CDC guidelines. (Read the CDC guidelines at

My favorite part of Thanksgiving is gathering with family and friends, followed closely by the food (I make a killer stuffing). With a little creativity, there are ways to enjoy holiday activities while still following CDC guidelines. Make extra servings of stuffing or pie and deliver the goodies to the people you would normally have over for dinner. Or tap into technology and host a virtual dinner party with all the trimmings. Throw in an ugly sweater contest to make things more festive. Limiting the extent of in-person family gatherings is one of the best things you can do to say that you care about your loved ones.

Or maybe this is a year to go lighter with food? Instead of planning a menu for lots of people, donate the money that would have gone into meal prep to VEAP or some other local charity. It’s a good feeling to help others, and the need is greater than it’s been in quite a while.

This is an opportunity to support each other. As much as your circumstances allow, be there for your neighbor. 

During social interactions, don’t let your guard down. Stay six feet or more away from others. If gatherings are a must, keep things small with 10 or fewer people and allow enough space to physically distance.

Even better, go outside instead of sitting inside with extended family and friends. An activity, such as walking or hiking, can be an opportunity to get out and enjoy Bloomington parks while social distancing. This time of year, weather may not be the best for outdoor social gatherings. Still, it can be worth a try.

Whether you have to bundle up or not, remember everyone needs to mask up. Don’t give into the temptation to make exceptions. 

COVID-19 has upended every aspect of our lives. It’s been tough for everyone, but we need to keep up the good work during this critical time. Spend time with family and do it in an environment that keeps you and those you care about as safe as possible. Protect the ones you love.  

Focus on the thankfulness of Thanksgiving, knowing challenging times will continue. This holiday season, more than ever, it’s important we look out for each other. We can get through this, stay healthy and connect in new ways.