PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Millions of families across the country are getting creative to spend the holiday together safely.
Thanksgiving is coinciding with a spike in COVID-19 cases nationwide, but many families are breaking tradition this year and getting creative.
Many escaped to Pinellas County’s beaches for Thanksgiving. The sand and sun provided a much needed holiday escape for families cooped up inside their homes for the better part of this year.
Kathleen Blackmon traveled to Florida from Atlanta, Georgia. She should be on a cruise with her family, which is their annual tradition, but she’s still in flip flops keeping the theme tropical.
“It’s 80 degrees and sunny. You can’t beat it here on Indian Rocks Beach. It’s a great way to spend Thanksgiving,” she said.
This year, her family decided to be flexible with their plans.
“Even in the last couple of weeks people have changed their plans with the way the numbers are spiking so the need to be flexible is paramount,” Blackmon explained.
Families like hers are keeping Mike Fowler at Indian Rocks Beach Chairs busy. He spent the afternoon setting up chairs and umbrellas for groups of beachgoers.
“I’m grateful that we just made it through the year. There was a time where we were closed for 6 weeks and it was stressful. We didn’t know how we were gonna make all the ends meet, but we have and all things considered, we’re doing okay,” Fowler added.
All week, the phone hasn’t stopped ringing at Salt Public House. Customers without holiday plans are grateful to find the restaurant open and serving a Thanksgiving meal.
“We just saw the demand and decided to keep going,” owner Aidan Bowles elaborated.
Some families were forced to get creative to host out of town guests this year. Sisters Robin Post and Cindy Weisser organized their own turkey trot and moved brunch from inside to a pavilion at Seminole Lake Park.
“We’re trying to be careful. We know how rampant this disease is, we’re wearing masks trying to keep separate,” Post said.
“It’s not the same. It’s not our tradition but it’s still nice,” Weisser, piped in.
Despite a break in tradition, families and business owners alike tell ABC Action News there’s still so much to be grateful for.
“I had a lot of family time this year and I loved it,” Vadim Drozd, who is visiting Pinellas County from Minnesota added.