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Five things to know ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday

Between travel, shopping and the pandemic, there's a lot to know ahead of Thanksgiving this year.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — There's a lot to think about for Thanksgiving this year. We've tackled holiday shopping and travel for years, but this is the second year during a pandemic.

It's getting busy at the stores and on the road as we countdown to Thanksgiving, and things should get even busier as the holiday weekend arrives.

WFMY News 2's Grace Holland got answers to the big questions ahead of the big day.

Question 1: Are gatherings safe this year?

Cone Health Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Cynthia Snider said it really depends on how many people are vaccinated in the group.

She recommends masking or taking the festivities outside if many in the group are not vaccinated. She also said even families that are fully vaccinated need to be careful.

"I think any vulnerable family members should still keep masked but if your close family has generally been wearing a mask in public and not taking much risk, I think it's pretty safe to be together," Snider said.

Question 2: Should you wear a mask while Black Friday shopping?

Snider said even though Guilford County dropped its mask mandate, it may be a good idea to keep the mask on because the number of cases here is still high.

"Always wear a mask in public, especially indoors obviously and especially in groups that you don't know people's vaccine status," Snider said. "So for Black Friday shopping, I will definitely be wearing my mask."

Question 3: What else can be done to stay safe during the holiday?

Experts recommend getting a booster shot, now that everyone 18 and up is eligible to get one.

"Either if you've had COVID and recovered or have had the vaccine over six months ago, the thought is everybody needs a booster vaccine," Snider said.

Question 4: When it comes to holiday travel, what can I expect on the road?

AAA expects 48 million people to be on the road, millions more than last year so heavy traffic could be possible.

Question 5: How much will it cost to fill up my gas tank?

Gasbuddy.com said the average gas price in our state is about $3.18 and could rise to $3.35 on Thanksgiving.

Experts expect prices to go down in a few weeks.