HALIFAX -- Thanksgiving has taken on a different look across the Maritimes in 2020. With public health officials recommending smaller than usual gatherings amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Nova Scotians are adapting their celebrations.

At the Westin hotel in Halifax, holiday meals have been served up for years. With roasted Nova Scotia turkey, honey-roasted Nova Scotia root vegetables and cranberry – in addition to chestnut stuffing gravy, salad and dessert – Thanksgiving dinner has always been easy for customers.

However, with the directive from public health to limit gatherings, the hotel is seeing a shift in the type of orders they receive.

“We’ve adapted somewhat,” says Westin Food and Beverage director, Alyson Dove. “Where traditionally we always catered to more to the larger groups, we’ve incorporated individual meals this year as well, which have actually been quite popular.”

The change in orders is an indication people are listening and keeping their get-togethers small.

“On Monday, we’re having a virtual Thanksgiving with my mom and my sister,” says one Halifax resident.

“I’m doing a typical Thanksgiving dinner,” says another resident. “But it’s about half of the people who would normally be here because most of the family is in New Brunswick right now.”

Following a spike of new COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick, health officials are cautioning Maritimers against complacency.

“As a person who lives in the Atlantic Bubble, it reminds me [how] very very quickly, how swiftly, this virus can go from person to person – even when we think we’re doing the right things,” says infectious disease doctor & scientist, Dr. Lisa Barrett.

Therefore, perhaps sacrificing a large family feast could give people something to be thankful for down the road.

“Keep your bubble teeny tiny this year, use a virtual connection to reach out to other people, and next year we’ll do it the usual Atlantic Canadian way,” says Barrett.