This isn’t the Thanksgiving for a big family reunion.
“Please, plan for a smaller table this year,” Gov. Phil Murphy pleaded at today’s briefing.
Not only that, the governor said families should consider moving “Turkey Day” celebrations outside.
“Maybe around a fire pit or a patio heater,” is how the governor put it.
That sounds warm and comfy, but let’s be real – not every state resident has a personal fire pit or a patio, let alone a heater.
Murphy’s rather somber holiday advice was prompted by some troubling developments.
The number of new cases is inching up – an additional 973 were announced today. Today’s positivity rate was 4.35 percent; a month or so ago, it was consistently about half that.
Another concern is how the new cases are happening.
Murphy seemed satisfied that people are doing the right thing when they’re in public, but that’s not the case with private gatherings.
It was Pat Callahan, the head of the State Police, who observed, “People struggle believing that their family and friends can give them the virus.”
Along those lines, Judy Persichilli, the state health commissioner, said there is increasing evidence of “community spread,” some of which is presumably caused by large family gatherings.
Murphy said the only way to stop the trend is to do “the basics.”
That means wearing masks, social distancing, frequent hand washing and avoiding large gatherings.
Thanksgiving weekend is a traditional time for travel.
Be careful with that, Murphy warned. He said he is concerned New Jersey residents may travel to other states for large gatherings and return home with the virus.
“This is not a good time to travel, travel only if you have to,” the governor said. And keep Thanksgiving gatherings small.
This won’t be easy. The governor indicated he knows many families undoubtedly feel safe from COVID-19 if they are among themselves – either here or out of state.
But they aren’t.
“We all have to acknowledge that,” Murphy said.