Yosemite’s Ahwahnee Hosted Massive Thanksgiving Feast. Unmasked Guests had Workers Appalled.
As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and California officials were urging Americans not to travel — and to keep celebrations small — over Thanksgiving, plans for a colossal feast were under way in Yosemite National Park.
“Prepare to be delighted with a Thanksgiving feast set in the historic Ahwahnee dining room,” read an ad for the event on the Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau website.
Advance reservations were highly recommended, according to the ad, due to “limited seating capacity.”
According to hotel employees, the Ahwahnee was fully booked all week and hundreds of guests showed up for the dinner’s multiple seatings indoors from 2-8 p.m. Face coverings were, in theory, required, but there was no enforcement. While the limited seating and take-away options were meant to keep guests socially distanced, the bar area got extremely crowded, employees say, and social distancing fell by the wayside.
“Basically, everyone just did whatever they wanted, as if there was no pandemic,” said an Ahwahnee roomskeeper who was working during the event.