Zoom is lifting its standard 40-minute limit on free video chats for Thanksgiving Day to make it easier to spend time with friends and family virtually on the US holiday.

Given spikes in COVID-19 cases nationwide and various new and existing restrictions on interstate travel, this year’s Thanksgiving will be an unprecedented affair likely involving a mix of in-person and virtual hangouts using videoconferencing software like Zoom.

It’s only a temporary removal of the 40-minute restriction, lasting from midnight on Thanksgiving Day (November 26th) to 6AM ET on November 27th. But the fact that Zoom is doing this at all — and that it will likely go a long way in helping users employ video chatting as a substitute for a traditional family gathering — speaks volumes about the bizarre and uncharted territory we’re entering this holiday season as COVID-19 continues to rage in the US.

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