The governors of New York, Washington state, Oregon, California and Michigan have all but canceled Thanksgiving in their states, and there is a growing discontent with the authoritarian and seemingly arbitrary nature of those orders from several quarters. The most noticeable pushback is coming from lawmakers and law enforcement. Even the White House has joined in the chorus of criticism in some cases.
In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo has limited Thanksgiving dinner to 10 people, and it’s not a suggestion – it’s an order. That’s not sitting well with some, especially law enforcement agencies who will be tasked with seeing that folks comply with the governor’s edict.
“I have no plans to utilize my office’s resources or deputies to break up the great tradition of Thanksgiving dinner,” Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard said. “This national holiday has created longstanding family traditions that are at the heart of America, and these traditions should not be stopped or interrupted by Governor Cuomo’s mandates.”
Sheriffs in Fulton, Saratoga and Washington counties are following suit. Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino tweeted, “We have limited resources and we have to set priorities, so obtaining a Search Warrant to enter your home to see how many Turkey or Tofu eaters are present is not a priority. We won’t be doing that.”
In California, where Governor Gavin Newsom has already been dinged by the courts for exceeding his authority when it comes to COVID-related orders, he is already taking heat for his Thanksgiving guidelines. Those require that gatherings be no more than three households, be held outdoors, last no longer than two hours and guests can only go inside to use the restroom. Masks can only be taken off to eat and drink, guests must be sat six feet apart and singing, and shouting and chanting are “strongly discouraged.”
One California legislator, Republican Assemblyman James Gallagher, has issued a statement on Twitter urging state residents to disregard the governor’s edict and just act responsibly.
“The Governor and state bureaucrats can color code counties and change rules as they go, but the basics remain the same: We are all free people who can exercise our freedom responsibly.” Gallagher wrote. “The Government can only take what you let them. I don’t think you should close your business, church or school. I would encourage you to keep them open. I don’t think you need to cancel Thanksgiving. You are all responsible adults and you can decide what risks are acceptable for you and your family. Be considerate.”
In the state of Washington, which is also seeing an increase in COVID infections, Governor Jay Inslee has essentially canceled Thanksgiving, limiting such celebrations to those who live in the home, plus those who have self-quarantined for two weeks and tested negative for the virus.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced new restrictions this week, calling the situation “dire.” Restaurants may not offer indoor dining. Indoor residential gatherings, which were capped at 10 people, can include no more than two households. Outdoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 25 people.
White House coronavirus advisor Scott Atlas called out Gov. Whitmer’s restrictions, advising Michigan residents to ignore them. In a tweet, Atlas said, “The only way this stops is if people rise up. You get what you accept. #FreedomMatters #StepUp.” Whitmer has already seen many of her COVID orders overturned by the Michigan Supreme Court, which ruled she was exceeding her legal authority in issuing them.
Perhaps the most egregious case of Thanksgiving restrictions came from Oregon, where Democrat Governor Kate Brown has threatened criminal sanctions against any in-home celebrations with more than six people. That prompted White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany to comment in a “Fox and Friends” segment on Fox News: “I think a lot of the guidelines that you are seeing are Orwellian.”
Responding to Gov. Brown’s threat of enforcing her order with up to three months in jail and a $1,250 fine, McEnany said, “The American people are a freedom-loving people. We can make good decisions, we can wash our hands, wear a mask, socially distance, we can also decide in our personal domicile, our own home, whether we can have our family members present.
“That is the American way. That is freedom.”
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