Arizonans adapt to changes to their Thanksgiving routine amid COVID-19 pandemic

On what turned out to be a very different Thanksgiving due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many people flocked to area parks and lakes on Nov. 26, eager to get outside for the holiday.

For her part, Mercedes Jones decided to take her grandson out for some fresh air at the Tempe Town Lake. It was a last-minute decision, after the host of their normal family gettogether tested positive for COVID-19.

"This is our plan now: coming to the park with my grandchild," said Jones.

Julianne Garrison also changed up her Thanksgiving plans. After a family member back home in Portland, Ore. tested positive for the virus, she decided to make the trip down south for the Valley’s sun, and nature trails.

"We just did a bike ride, did a run this morning. Sat by the pool," said Garrison.

For Shuo Cheng and his kids, a normal Thanksgiving meal was never in the cards. Every year, Cheng instead looks forward to watching his son play hockey, another tradition that fell victim to the ongoing pandemic.

"Little bit disappointed cause it’s a big tournament," said Cheng.

While no one’s Thanksgiving turned out exactly as planned, many say they are still grateful to spend the day out here in nature.