Northeast Ohio’s Thanksgiving celebrations change as COVID-19 remains a threat

Northeast Ohio’s Thanksgiving celebrations change as COVID-19 remains a threat

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - COVID-19 and Thanksgiving: an unusual combination for the holiday.

So, how are people trying to maintain some of their Thanksgiving traditions, while also following the recommendations of Governor Mike DeWine?

At Mallorca’s in Cleveland, Flaming Coffee was among the treats on the menu.

But Owner Laurie Torres admits this Thanksgiving is far different than years past because of the threat of COVID-19.

“These dining rooms normally would be filled with people. We’ve had some of the same families come celebrate with us for 20 years now, and many of those families have come in smaller groups this year – but most of them were lined up here at around 1 p.m. or 2 picking up their “to go” orders,” Torres said.

Jomelys Maldonado drove in from New Jersey to spend the holiday with her parents.

But because her boyfriend has tested positive for the coronavirus, she almost didn’t make it here.

“I took a test. I was negative and the doctor gave me the okay because my mom has a pacemaker – so we couldn’t take any extra chances,” Maldonado said.

Maldonado admits it’s tradition to be at a family member’s home celebrating with a large group of loved ones on Thanksgiving, but this year it wasn’t worth the risk.

The owner of Mallorca’s says while they have been busy this holiday, it’s not the same as in years past, “Way down. I mean way down. I would probably say we do about 40% of what we normally do on Thanksgiving.”

Over at Lock Keepers in Valley View, the General Manager Brian Woehrman said it’s been a good day, but people appear to be following the Governor’s advice and dining in much smaller groups.

“It’s not normal, it’s different for sure. Things are going great we are just happy to be open,” Woehrman said.

While Lock Keepers kept getting calls all day for reservations, Woehrman told 19 News that more than 200 people who made reservations early for Thanksgiving changed their minds and canceled after the Governor urged people to consider enjoying the day in smaller groups.

“A lot more carry out this year for sure,” Woehrman said.

Lock Keepers still had hundreds of reservations secured for the holiday, but a large number of people chose to celebrate at home.

Since the pandemic began – the number of COVID-19 infections has increased after every holiday.

So the state is hoping the curfew and stay at home advisory will make a difference in decreasing the numbers of those infected moving forward.

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