The holidays are upon us and one tech company is already in the giving spirit.
Zoom announced it will lift its timed meeting limit on Thanksgiving so “your family gatherings don’t get cut short.”
The video communications company announced in a tweet that the 40-minute time limit it usually has on its free meetings will be lifted globally on November 26 (Thanksgiving Day).
The tech giant has done extremely well since the start of the pandemic when schools and offices around the world were forced to move operations entirely online; though it is worth noting that Zoom’s stock plunged after last week’s news that Pfizer and BioNTech’s candidate vaccine for Covid-19 was 90% effective in early trials.
Normally, the platform offers free meetings for a maximum of 40 minutes (participants can then simply start another free meeting – making it the most popular choice for video conference on the market). Paid plans range from around $150-$200 per year for unlimited meeting minutes.
The announcement comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance on small gatherings during the holiday season.
The main guidance, according to the CDC, is assessing the levels of Covid-19 infections in communities to determine whether to postpone, cancel or limit the number of people at a celebration or whether to attend certain activities. If there are high infection rates, the agency recommends limited gatherings.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, struck a similar tone in an interview with CNN last month.
“Some people in this country are going to be able to have a relatively normal type of a Thanksgiving, but in other areas of the country, it’s going to be, ‘You better hold off and maybe just have immediate family, and make sure you do it in a way that people wear masks, and you don’t have large crowds of people,’” Dr. Fauci said.
“What we’re starting to see now – and we can’t run away from it – we’re starting to see in the Midwest and the Northwest, an uptick in test positivity, which tends to be a predictor that you’re going to have surges,” he added.
The US has surpassed 11 million Covid-19 cases and has seen more than 240,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.