On November 26th, Americans across the 50 states will tuck into sweet potato pie, scoop an extra helping of green bean casserole, and, of course, carve that perfectly roasted turkey. However, many households will have a new guest at the table, one who can’t pass the gravy, but can join you virtually with friends and family members in any corner of the country: a computer. In the spirit of giving, Zoom is removing its 40-minute time limit for Thanksgiving Day, so families can join face-to-face, or screen-to-screen, during a time that makes travel and gatherings complicated.
If you haven’t used Zoom yet, it is only a matter of time. The virtual meeting platform has done exceedingly well since the onset of the global pandemic, as businesses and schools transitioned to online gatherings, but news of a potent vaccine that’s expected to come into production in the spring recently dropped the price of Zoom’s stock significantly. In the wake of that news, Zoom lifted the 40-minute time limit for its free members so that anyone can enjoy uninterrupted virtual family-time for the entire day. Whether you’re keeping your grandma company in the kitchen or critiquing your son-in-law’s turkey carving skills, you can be present for the holidays from the comfort of your couch.
Zoom announced the removal of their 40-minute time limit through a tweet, “As a thank you to our customers,” the post read, “so your family gatherings don’t get cut short.” This comes at a time when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning people that traveling and gathering for the holidays carry serious health risks. They advise that people should avoid travel and instead celebrate the holiday at home. “Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household (who are consistently taking measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19) poses the lowest risk for spread,” the CDC shared. Thanks to Zoom offering their $100-200 unlimited time packages for free over the holiday, you can give thanks all day without taking out your wallet.
When CNN asked Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, what his plans were for the holidays he shared that he would be joining his three daughters virtually. “They themselves, because of their concern for me and my age, have decided they’re not going to come home for Thanksgiving, even though all three of them want very much to come home for Thanksgiving,” Dr. Fauci shared. “That’s one family’s decision. Otherwise, we would love to be together.” Dr. Fauci has been integral to the U.S.’s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic, and he’s been a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force since the beginning. So before heading over to your family or friends for the holidays, remember that you can celebrate safely at home and still see those close to you around the world. That is truly something to be thankful for.