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Americans celebrate a socially-distanced Thanksgiving 


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Thanksgiving looked a lot different for millions of Americans across the US this year. 

While some experienced Thanksgiving without loved ones for the first time, others used Zoom for family gatherings on Thursday. Some spent the holiday alone.

Heartbreaking images showed Vivian Zayas and her family sitting around a dining table during prayer with an empty place setting for her mother, Ana Martinez, who died earlier this year at 78. 

Martinez died from COVID-19 on April 1 while she was recovering at a nursing home from a knee replacement. The family held their traditional meal of turkey, yams, green beans and rice and beans – but Zayas removed a seat from the table at her home in Deer Park, New York, and put her mother’s walker in its place.

‘It’s a painful Thanksgiving. You don´t even know, should you celebrate?’ asked Zayas. ‘It’s a lonely time.’ The family is left with ‘an empty chair at the table forever,’ another daughter, Alexa Rivera, said Thursday.

In New York City and Los Angeles, families, couples and friends were seen sitting at socially-distanced tables while eating out a local restaurants. 

Other pictures showed relatives doing drive-by greetings to loved ones at nursing homes, after being unable to go inside due to social distancing rules. 

Meanwhile, several volunteers spent the day giving out food and meals to families in need. 

Deer Park, New York: The family is seen in prayer before they have Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday 

Bronx, New York: Family members wave goodbye to nursing home resident Barbara Farrior, 85, at the end of their visit at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale on Thanksgiving

Bronx, New York: Family members wave goodbye to nursing home resident Barbara Farrior, 85, at the end of their visit at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale on Thanksgiving

Los Angeles, California: People dine while sitting at socially distanced tables during Thanksgiving

Los Angeles, California: People dine while sitting at socially distanced tables during Thanksgiving

New York, New York: Customer's dine outdoors in individual tents in the West Village on Thursday in New York City

New York, New York: Customer’s dine outdoors in individual tents in the West Village on Thursday in New York City

Detroit, Michigan: Janis and Uri Segal celebrate Thanksgiving with a virtual zoom with their family before a small dinner together, as they try to prevent the spread of coronavirus

Detroit, Michigan: Janis and Uri Segal celebrate Thanksgiving with a virtual zoom with their family before a small dinner together, as they try to prevent the spread of coronavirus

Deer Park, New York: Vivian Zayas holds onto the walker once belonging to her recently deceased mother Ana Martinez while her family prays before Thanksgiving dinner. Martinez died in April from COVID-19 at the age of 78

Deer Park, New York: Vivian Zayas holds onto the walker once belonging to her recently deceased mother Ana Martinez while her family prays before Thanksgiving dinner. Martinez died in April from COVID-19 at the age of 78 

Deer Park, New York: An empty place setting rests at the head of the dining room table for the family's recently deceased relative

Deer Park, New York: An empty place setting rests at the head of the dining room table for the family’s recently deceased relative

Deer Park, New York: Like thousands of Americans, Alexa Rivera recently lost a loved one this year. Rivera is seen standing at the dining room table as the walker once belonging to her recently deceased mother Ana Martinez rests beside an empty place setting before Thanksgiving dinner

Deer Park, New York: Like thousands of Americans, Alexa Rivera recently lost a loved one this year. Rivera is seen standing at the dining room table as the walker once belonging to her recently deceased mother Ana Martinez rests beside an empty place setting before Thanksgiving dinner

Olathe, Kansas: Jessica and John Franz have Thanksgiving dinner with their daughters, Amelia (left), 11, Molly (back), 8, and Quinn (front), 2.  The family held a quiet scaled-back Thanksgiving with just the household due to concerns about the coronavirus

Olathe, Kansas: Jessica and John Franz have Thanksgiving dinner with their daughters, Amelia (left), 11, Molly (back), 8, and Quinn (front), 2.  The family held a quiet scaled-back Thanksgiving with just the household due to concerns about the coronavirus

Los Angeles, California: Alexis Small and her newborn baby Aubrielle Kitchen meet with her brother Brandon over a Zoom Conference call on Thanksgiving

Los Angeles, California: Alexis Small and her newborn baby Aubrielle Kitchen meet with her brother Brandon over a Zoom Conference call on Thanksgiving 

Valrico, Florida: Jennifer Collis and her youngest son Timmy talk with family members in Delaware and Ohio on a Zoom call on Thanksgiving Day

Valrico, Florida: Jennifer Collis and her youngest son Timmy talk with family members in Delaware and Ohio on a Zoom call on Thanksgiving Day

Valrico, Florida: Steve Collis and his youngest son Timmy talk with family in Delaware and Ohio on a Zoom call on Thursday

Valrico, Florida: Steve Collis and his youngest son Timmy talk with family in Delaware and Ohio on a Zoom call on Thursday 

Los Angeles, California: Americans are seen wearing masks indoors while serving food during Thanksgiving

Los Angeles, California: Americans are seen wearing masks indoors while serving food during Thanksgiving 

New York, New York: Families, couples, and friends dine outside at a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner

New York, New York: Families, couples, and friends dine outside at a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner

New York, New York: Outside dining was open for families, couple and friends to eat out on Thanksgiving

New York, New York: Outside dining was open for families, couple and friends to eat out on Thanksgiving

Los Angeles, California: People are seen dining out while sitting at socially-distanced tables on Thursday

Los Angeles, California: People are seen dining out while sitting at socially-distanced tables on Thursday 

New York, New York: Customers eat out on Thanksgiving day at Rosa Mexicano in Manhattan

New York, New York: Customers eat out on Thanksgiving day at Rosa Mexicano in Manhattan 

New York, New York: A customer at Cafe Fiorello sits at an outdoor table covered in a plastic tent on Thursday

New York, New York: A customer at Cafe Fiorello sits at an outdoor table covered in a plastic tent on Thursday 

New York, New York: A couple dines out for Thanksgiving dinner in the Brooklyn borough of New York City

New York, New York: A couple dines out for Thanksgiving dinner in the Brooklyn borough of New York City

New York, New York: People eat at The Smith's outdoor seating on Thanksgiving in New York City

New York, New York: People eat at The Smith’s outdoor seating on Thanksgiving in New York City

Los Angeles, California: People dine while sitting at socially-distanced tables during Thanksgiving

Los Angeles, California: People dine while sitting at socially-distanced tables during Thanksgiving 

New York, New York: Couples dine out for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday in New York City amid the coronavirus pandemic

New York, New York: Couples dine out for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday in New York City amid the coronavirus pandemic

New York, New York: Families, couples, and friends dine out at a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner

New York, New York: Families, couples, and friends dine out at a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner 

New York, New York: A couple enjoys dinner on Thanksgiving evening in New York City

New York, New York: A couple enjoys dinner on Thanksgiving evening in New York City

Yosemite Valley, California: Thanksgiving day visitors stand in line at a touch-less dinner buffet in Ahwahnee Dining Room in Yosemite Valley National Park on Thursday

Yosemite Valley, California: Thanksgiving day visitors stand in line at a touch-less dinner buffet in Ahwahnee Dining Room in Yosemite Valley National Park on Thursday 

Yosemite Valley, California: A server at touch-less dinner buffet in Ahwahnee Dining Room is seen dipping food for a customer on Thursday

Yosemite Valley, California: A server at touch-less dinner buffet in Ahwahnee Dining Room is seen dipping food for a customer on Thursday

Bronx, New York: Nursing home residents hold signs as staff members walk by during a Thanksgiving celebration at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale on Thursday. The home also offered drive-up visits for families of residents struggling with celebrating the holiday alone

Bronx, New York: Nursing home residents hold signs as staff members walk by during a Thanksgiving celebration at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale on Thursday. The home also offered drive-up visits for families of residents struggling with celebrating the holiday alone

Bronx, New York: Resident Barbara Farrior, 85, is seen as her family waves goodbye after driving by the Hebrew Home in Riverdale

Bronx, New York: Resident Barbara Farrior, 85, is seen as her family waves goodbye after driving by the Hebrew Home in Riverdale

Bronx, New York: Nursing home resident Jeannette Levy, 95, speaks with family members during a drive-by visit at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale in the Bronx during Thanksgiving Day

Bronx, New York: Nursing home resident Jeannette Levy, 95, speaks with family members during a drive-by visit at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale in the Bronx during Thanksgiving Day

Columbus, Ohio: Volunteers at Rock City Church prepare meals and other items such as hand warmers and hand sanitizer to hand out to those in need during a Thanksgiving beneficiary event on Thursday

Columbus, Ohio: Volunteers at Rock City Church prepare meals and other items such as hand warmers and hand sanitizer to hand out to those in need during a Thanksgiving beneficiary event on Thursday

Columbus, Ohio: A volunteer is seen preparing meals for those in need on Thursday

Columbus, Ohio: A volunteer is seen preparing meals for those in need on Thursday

Columbus, Ohio: Residents regarded as 'food insecure' accept boxed hot Thanksgiving meals and other items such as masks, hand warmers, and hand sanitizer during the event

Columbus, Ohio: Residents regarded as ‘food insecure’ accept boxed hot Thanksgiving meals and other items such as masks, hand warmers, and hand sanitizer during the event 

Columbus, Ohio: Residents are seen enjoying boxed hot Thanksgiving meals during the beneficiary event on Thursday

Columbus, Ohio: Residents are seen enjoying boxed hot Thanksgiving meals during the beneficiary event on Thursday

Columbus, Ohio: Mashed potatoes, gravy and rolls are seen at the Rock City Church as volunteers prepare meals for those in need

Columbus, Ohio: Mashed potatoes, gravy and rolls are seen at the Rock City Church as volunteers prepare meals for those in need 

Columbus, Ohio: Several residents are seen getting food and other items during the event on Thursday. Franklin County, where Columbus is located, is one of 4 counties in Ohio that are currently 'purple' the highest ranking color code on the scale measuring the number of Covid cases and risk of transmission

Columbus, Ohio: Several residents are seen getting food and other items during the event on Thursday. Franklin County, where Columbus is located, is one of 4 counties in Ohio that are currently ‘purple’ the highest ranking color code on the scale measuring the number of Covid cases and risk of transmission

Columbus, Ohio: Volunteers hand out coffee out front of the Rock the City Church during a Thanksgiving beneficiary event to help those in need on Thursday

Columbus, Ohio: Volunteers hand out coffee out front of the Rock the City Church during a Thanksgiving beneficiary event to help those in need on Thursday 



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