ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – Two Tri-Cities families spent their white Christmas completely differently. One found a way to gather safely, while the other had to gather virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brent Davis and some of his family members were able to safely gather with their grandparents this Christmas after several loved ones spend two weeks in quarantine and got tested for the novel coronavirus.
“We still wanted to be safe, but we wanted to see the grandparents – specifically since they’re very elderly now – so we all agreed to quarantine for two weeks before Christmas, so that we could be safe to see them and no worry of transmitting COVID-19 to them. Definitely didn’t want them to have that during this time of year or at all, ever,” he told News Channel 11’s Bianca Marais.
“We also, as an extra precaution, got COVID tests about a week ago, just to be double cautious, even though we’ve been quarantined, just wanted to be sure, so we could all come down here and spend Christmas with them and not have to wear the masks either since we’re all safe and have dinner, a typical Christmas with them,” he added.
Davis added that the quarantine requirement was difficult for all their family members to adhere to. That, and the fact that Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s executive order limits gathering to 10 people, so only six of the family members managed to gather.
“We didn’t have as many people because of all the restrictions, of course, and some of the family wasn’t able to quarantine , so we just kept it to six people, so we could still celebrate with the grandparents and make it as normal for them as possible,” Davis added.
But not every family was lucky enough to gather for a somewhat normal Christmas this year. The Carr family out of Elizabethton spent their Christmas celebrating with each other over the phone.
“My sister-in-law potentially has COVID, she has mild symptoms, but she’s lost the sense of taste and smell. We’re waiting on test results and we just kind of figured that it was better safe than sorry. We’d rather protect everyone right now, so we can all be together next year,” Elizabeth Carr told News Channel 11’s Bianca Marais.
Carr explained that her parents are elderly, so the family did not want to risk unknowingly spreading the coronavirus to them.
“Their age definitely did factor into it. I don’t know the specifics and exact statistics, but I do know that I would probably have a better chance with it than they would, just because of the fact of their age, and they do have some pre-existing conditions and we’ve taken this very seriously from the very start and all try to wear masks and social distance and stay home when we need to, so why wouldn’t we do that now? It’s the same, it’s a continuance of what we’ve done all along,” she said.
As the separation this holiday became the only option, Carr said the true meaning of Christmas became abundantly clear.
“Talking with my sister-in-law last night, and she had said that you work so hard to make everything perfect and you try to find those perfect presents and this has really made us realize that none of that matters, that it’s just about family and being able to be together, and that’s really hit home for us this year,” she said.
To the members of the community who wish to spend Christmas with their families next year: “I just ask that people listen to science and to the doctors and stay home if you can, and wear your mask and socially distance, I know that there’s so much confusion out on that right now and it’s really kind of been politicized, but I think it’s so important to do that so we can keep everyone safe.”