The Grinch Who Stole Thanksgiving

Governor Gavin Newsom’s Department of Health has issued an updated “Guidance for Private Gatherings” in time for Thanksgiving. Basically, fun is illegal in California:

Gatherings that include more than 3 households are prohibited. This includes everyone present, including hosts and guests.

So if you have three kids, you can invite two of them.

All gatherings must be held outside. Attendees may go inside to use restrooms as long as the restrooms are frequently sanitized.

This would not work well in Minnesota. We haven’t even gotten to Halloween yet, and where I live there are 8 inches of snow on the ground.

Gatherings may occur in outdoor spaces that are covered by umbrellas, canopies, awnings, roofs, and other shade structures provided that at least three sides of the space (or 75%) are open to the outdoors.

It’s time to get out the pitchforks.

People at higher risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 (such as older adults and people with chronic medical conditions) are strongly urged not to attend any gatherings.

So forget about going to your parents’ house for Thanksgiving, or having them over.

Seating must provide at least 6 feet of distance (in all directions—front-to-back and side-to-side) between different households.

So don’t expect a lot of conversation. In some families, of course, this could be a plus.

Everyone at a gathering should frequently wash their hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. A place to wash hands or hand sanitizer must be available for participants to use.

Presumably you would wash your hands in a bathroom. See item 2 above.

Shared items should not be used during a gathering. As much as possible, any food or beverages at outdoor gatherings must be in single-serve disposable containers. If providing single-serve containers is not possible, food and beverages must be served by a person who washes or sanitizes their hands frequently, and wears a face covering. Self-serve items from communal containers should not be used.

So no passing the mashed potatoes. I really don’t understand the rationale for this one.

People at gatherings may remove their face coverings briefly to eat or drink as long as they stay at least 6 feet away from everyone outside their own household, and put their face covering back on as soon as they are done with the activity.

Briefly! No lingering over Thanksgiving dinner. Also:

Gatherings should be two hours or less. The longer the duration, the risk of transmission increases.

Hurry up and finish your turkey, Grandma.

Singing, chanting, shouting, and physical exertion significantly increases the risk of COVID-19 transmission because these activities increase the release of respiratory droplets and fine aerosols into the air.

In my family, banning singing is probably a good thing. But physical exertion?

Governor Newsom is taking a lot of abuse on Twitter, and deservedly so. But frankly, the time has come for civil disobedience. Also, voting for freedom. Here in Minnesota, Republican leadership in both the Senate and House have promulgated a “Contract to Open Minnesota.” If Republicans keep their Senate majority and win a majority in the House, they have pledged to end the one-man rule our state has been laboring under, end the state of emergency, reopen the schools, and trust to individuals and local governments to look after public safety.

The effects of the shutdowns have been catastrophic, palpable and undeniable. Their supposed benefits are hypothetical, speculative, and unsupported by data. The time has come to set our people free.

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