Image: iStock/prostock-studio

During the coronavirus pandemic, video conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Teams have been vital virtual collaboration tools as companies shift to remote work. Similarly, friends and families have increasingly relied on these platforms to stay connected and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

SEE: Zoom 101: A guidebook for beginners and business pros (TechRepublic Premium)

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge heading toward the Thanksgiving holiday, many households are opting to hold virtual gatherings this year. To assist, Zoom announced via Tweet that it would be lifting its global 40-minute time limit on Zoom meetings to ensure virtual family gatherings aren’t “cut short.”

Zoom made the Twitter announcement on Nov. 10, with the hashtag #ZoomTogether, and stated that it would lift the standard 40-minute time limit starting at midnight on Nov. 26 (ET) and last through 6 a.m. Nov. 27.

SEE: Zoom Thanksgiving: 10 tips for hosting a virtual Thanksgiving on Zoom (TechRepublic)

Zoom’s meeting restrictions and requirements will vary depending on the plan used by the individual or organization. For example, the free version of the video conferencing platform typically has a 40-minute time limit on group meetings. Other paid versions of the video conferencing platform have extended meeting duration limits.

For example Zoom Pro, Zoom Business, and Zoom Enterprise plans include a group meeting time limit of 30 hours. The Zooom Basic plan does include a participant capacity of 100 meeting attendees, which should be more than adequate for most virtual Thanksgiving Zoom gatherings.

SEE: Photos: Thanksgiving Zoom backgrounds to boost the virtual festivities from afar (TechRepublic)

Virtual backgrounds are a popular way to add some personality to a standard virtual meeting. That said, all Zoom plans including the basic, free package allows participants to add a virtual background to their setup. Screen sharing and virtual whiteboarding are also routinely used during Zoom meetings and these features are also available on all Zoom plans.