It’s Big Brother against your family as Thanksgiving approaches, according to critics.
Across the nation, state and local governments concerned about a rise in COVID-19 cases are imposing unprecedented limitations on family gatherings, prompting citizens and, in some cases, police to object.
In Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown urged residents to call the police on the neighbors they know could be violating public health guidelines, which includes limiting gatherings to just six people.
In New Jersey, the public is encouraged not to sing or shout around the dinner table, at the direction of Gov. Phil Murphy. If people want to do that in California, the state government urges the public to do so while wearing a mask and to leave it on between eating and drinking.
In Pennsylvania, there won’t be any pre-gaming on Thanksgiving eve since alcohol sales by restaurants and bars are banned from 5 p.m. on Nov. 25.
The heavy restrictions come as the country faces strong surges in cases of the coronavirus, which has now infected more than 12 million people in the country and killed more than 257,000.
Hospitalizations over the virus are on the rise, led by the Great Plains and Midwest, with over 85,000 people hospitalized on Monday, according to data compiled by the Washington Post.
Health officials have warned against traveling this holiday season and suggested limiting Thanksgiving dinners to the immediate household to prevent further spread.
While many people will take those precautions this season, some are growing frustrated with the government overhaul of civil liberties, especially as some of the officials mandating the restrictions have been caught breaking their own rules.
Over the weekend, protesters in Huntington Beach, California, marched against Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new statewide curfew. The demonstration came less than two weeks from when Newsom was caught violating the state’s own orders at a dinner party that had more than the recommended three households.
Restaurateurs and workers in the service industry balked at Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s alcohol ban on one of the busiest nights of the year, especially after many businesses are barely making it after nearly a year of closures and limitations on public gatherings.
“This is obviously another gross overreach by the governor,” Chris Sirianni, owner of a local pub in Erie, told Erie News Now. “We’ve done things along the way to make sure we’re operating safe and within the guidelines of Pennsylvania’s restrictions. This is just another major setback.”
A video of a woman interrupting Murphy’s dinner, where him and his family weren’t wearing masks, went viral after she berated him over his own rules.
“Hey, how ya doing?” a woman asked the governor, who was initially maskless, as another woman was heard saying in the video posted this weekend, “You are such a dick.”
“You’re having fun with your family, and in the meantime, you’re having all other kind of bullshit going on,” the first woman continued.
Regardless of the newly implemented restrictions, a number of police chiefs have openly said they won’t enforce the rules outside of some kind of an egregious violation.
“I wasn’t going to have my police officers going knocking on doors and ruining somebody’s holiday just to check how many people are inside their house. It’s not happening,” said Howell Township Police Chief Andrew Kudrick Jr. of New Jersey.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo slammed a number of law enforcement chiefs in his state as “dictators” after they said they wouldn’t enforce his order of limiting gatherings to 10 people.
“I can’t see how devoting our resources to counting cars in citizens’ driveways or investigating how much turkey and dressing they’ve purchased is for the public good,” Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo said.
Some elected officials have also spoken out against strict orders, including Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw, who encouraged people to disobey the “unconstitutional orders.”
Prosecuting people for holiday gatherings inside their own home violates the 4th Amendment – protection from unreasonable search & seizure.
Elected leaders who violate the Constitution should be held accountable, & law enforcement should disobey unconstitutional orders.
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX)
November 23, 2020
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who has long been critical of economic lockdowns, touted that her state won’t impose any additional measures but encouraged people to take their own health precautions while gathering.
“In South Dakota, we won’t stop or discourage you from thanking God and spending time together this Thanksgiving,” Noem said. “Some states across the country are imposing restrictions on Thanksgiving celebrations. Some in the media are even looking ahead and planning to cancel Christmas. I’ll continue to encourage each and every one of you to exercise personal responsibility and make smart choices.”
Thanksgiving is around the corner, and across the country families are planning how to celebrate with their loved-ones in the midst of #COVID19.
In South Dakota, we won’t stop or discourage you from thanking God and spending time together this Thanksgiving. (THREAD)
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem)
November 20, 2020