AUSTIN, Texas - Thanksgiving means a lot of things to a lot of people.
"Thanksgiving is about being happy about what you've been given all year," said Quincy Carter, visitor.
"It means to reflect back on the things you are grateful for and be in the moment with your family," said Paige Evans, student.
This year is extra special. This time last year Austin Public Health's advice was to stay home and don't gather.
"We definitely didn't see any friends or anything," said Evans.
Many people are full of pandemic fatigue and are ready for some sense of normalcy.
"Being back out in the city, being able to see each other from the elderly to the young kids to meeting random strangers at a bar or restaurant or down the street, or here at our great Capitol," said Carter.
Ahead of the holiday, Austin's top doctor is advising everyone to still take precautions while gathering. And if you can do it, gather outside because, despite good vaccination numbers, community transmission remains high.
"Open windows and stay outdoors as much as possible. Wear a mask around people you don't know. The only thing that you should be bringing to the Thanksgiving table this year is the fixins, not COVID," said Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County Health Authority.
Community transmission is a new category APH added to determine stage movement. Austin-Travis County will remain in stage three risk guidelines for now.
"It's probably too late to be fully protected for Thanksgiving but if it's on your list of things to do while you’re running out to get that last minute chicken broth, rosemary or sage, go ahead and get a dose of vaccine," said Adrienne Sturrup, interim APH director.
Austin Public Health officials believe staying ahead of the numbers, taking precautions and getting vaccinated will be the ticket out of the pandemic. They are also advising guests get tested within a 72-hour window before attending Thanksgiving gatherings.
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