FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - The coronavirus pandemic has affected the way South Floridians carry out their dinner plans, and Thanksgiving was no exception.

As COVID cases spike across the country, local families were forced to find creative ways to celebrate the national holiday.

Like many people, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea resident Heather Quinones normally hosts a big Thanksgiving dinner at her home, but this year, that’s not happening.

“We’re trying to keep everything safe and healthy for this Thanksgiving,” said Quinones. “We’re taking precautions by social distancing. We’re eating outside.”

The Quinones family followed recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by hosting a small group of only seven family members. They had dinner outside and allowed considerable space for social distancing.

“Next year, hopefully, things will be a little different, and we’ll all be back together again to celebrate,” said Quinones.

Until then, loved ones joined in virtually from Philadelphia.

It’s something many families are doing in 2020 to celebrate with loved ones while social distancing.

South Florida resident Sergio Mesquita opted to send virtual Thanksgiving greetings to family members.

“I love you, and I just wish a really great Thanksgiving,” he said during a video chat.

7News cameras captured diners along Las Olas Boulevard in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Thursday evening.

Some diners said they’re taking precautions but aren’t too worried.

Jan and Alissa Eggenfellner said this was a double celebration for them. They were out grabbing dinner for Thanksgiving and on their honeymoon.

“We’re waiting for our table, and we’re gonna have our Thanksgiving food,” said Jan.

“I choose not to live in fear and just take those extra precautions instead,” said Alissa.

Regardless of how South Floridians were celebrating, odds are their celebrations look a little different.

“My grandma back at home, we obviously didn’t want to be around her and my aunts and my uncles and stuff like that, so we just kept it small,” said Madison Taylor.

“Definitely different, looking forward to 2021. That’s for sure,” said visitor Lisa Taylor.

While it may not be the celebrations many were hoping for, in a year with so much tragedy, people who spoke to 7News said they were not forgetting the true meaning of the holiday.​

“We’re very thankful, for our family and our health, because a lot of families have lost a lot of loved ones, and our hearts go out to them,” said Quinones.

Anyone with questions and concerns about the coronavirus can call the Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 1-866-779-6121.

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