El Paso families cancel Thanksgiving plans as virus surge continues


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. Some El Paso families are choosing to change their usual holiday plans and cancel trips as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to surge in the Borderland.

KTSM 9 News spoke with some of those El Pasoans who say it wasn’t an easy decision to make.

“Some members of the family are not going to be present and it’s a disappointment, absolutely,” said Oscar Tucker, an El Pasoan choosing to spend Thanksgiving with only his household.

“I don’t think I’ll be seeing my grandma or anyone, just to keep her safe,” said Melanie Suarez, an El Pasoan who says she has no plans for Thanksgiving.

“My family is not going to come from out of town,” said Letty Peinado.

Letty Peinado says every year her children and grandchildren come to visit from Dallas and Edinburg, Texas, for Thanksgiving. That’s not the case this year.

“I’m sad, of course, because it’s not the same,” said Peinado. “Every year we get together — all of our family gets together: my husband’s family and my family. And now this year no, it’s very different.”

Peinado said her family made plans to come to El Paso this Thanksgiving, but her children just called her this week to say they would not be making the trip this year because of the high number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

“Thinking of you and sending you love this Thanksgiving, wishing you all were here with us,” Peinado reading a Thanksgiving card she bought for her loved ones as she held back tears.

Texas Rep. Joe Moody said he is making the same choice as the Peinado family this Thanksgiving and started a campaign, “Give Thanks, Not COVID.”

“We’ve all sacrificed a lot this year, but if we sacrifice this holiday season to do things just a little bit differently,” Moody said. “In my family, we’re going to fix all our favorite dishes and deliver them to family homes contactless, contact free, just leave it on the door so that we can enjoy a little bit of that.”

Moody cautions that too many people are saying “don’t gather for the holidays, but if you do … .”

“Let’s listen to the first part of that advice, you shouldn’t gather, stay in your household,” he said. “You know there’s plenty of amazing restaurants that are creating Thanksgiving feasts; you can pick them up and take them home or if you want to cook your favorite stuff, obviously do that. But there’s ways to support the local economy, there’s ways to stay safe — we can do it all at the same time.”

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