Murphy’s Next Target: Your Thanksgiving Dinner

TRENTON, N.J. – The holidays are fast approaching and, in just one month’s time, New Jerseyans will be preparing for the biggest feast day on American’s annual calendar: Thanksgiving.

This year? Governor Phil Murphy is urging residents to go small.

“We do not want a Thanksgiving dinner to turn tragic because someone unwittingly exposed a large number of their family members to the coronavirus,” Murphy said at Thursday’s daily COVID-19 briefing. “We urge you to not gather around the dining room table with anyone outside your immediate household — and, if you do, to limit that reach to only a limited number of close relatives or friends with whom you have been throughout this pandemic and to move your celebration outdoors around the firepit or a patio heater if you’ve been able to get one.”

“While we are seeing more people being vigilant in public, it is when you let your guard down in your own home that things can go awry,” Murphy added, alleging that indoor household gatherings are a major source of new cases. “So, again, start planning your holidays now, and please plan for a smaller table this year so we can help ensure that you can once again gather at a larger one next year.”

Thanksgiving is traditionally the busiest travel day of the year in the U.S. as millions hit the road to visit loved ones.

Murphy’s remarks came 24 hours after Dr. Anthony Fauci told CBS that large Thanksgiving gatherings without out-of-town gatherers was a “risk” they should skip notwithstanding the “sacred” character of Thanksgiving. Both men’s advice echoes that of the CDC which is urging Americans to have small dinners and consider “virtual” gatherings.

New Jersey reported over 800 “new” cases on Friday but a majority were either older than 7 days old and/or arose from long term care facilities.

The Governor stopped short of suggesting any law enforcement action would be taken against anyone conducting a large traditional Thanksgiving; indoor gatherings in the Garden State are presently limited to 25 people or 25% of the indoor space’s normal capacity, whichever number is smaller. The New Jersey State Police made a great show of issuing citations to organizers of oversized gatherings in the spring and early summer months of 2020.