Are Gov. Newsom’s Thanksgiving restrictions right?


Fact Box

  • As of Friday, October 30, there have been 925,055 coronavirus cases in California, with 17,571 reported deaths. 
  • Health officials expect there to be a “substantial third wave” of coronavirus infections due to seasonal influenza throughout the fall and winter. 
  • On Thursday, a record high of 88,521 coronavirus cases were noted in a single day in the United States. 
  • Thanksgiving is on November 26, a popular holiday for the United States and Canada, celebrating harvest time and blessings of the year. The celebration dates back to the first harvest gathering between the Pilgrims and Wampanoag people in 1621.
  • In light of the coming holiday, Gov. Gavin Newsom has listed Thanksgiving restrictions, including: limiting gatherings to three families, wearing masks unless eating, discouraging singing, and limiting interaction to two hours.

Andrew (Yes)

While many are disappointed by the limitations California Governor Gavin Newsom has placed on Thanksgiving celebrations, the benefits of risk reduction far outweigh the joys of normal celebration. Newsom is right to place restrictions on Thanksgiving gatherings because traditional celebrations typically have many elements that are very high risk for transmission of the coronavirus. Thanksgiving gatherings are typically held inside, where we know the virus spreads more easily. Also, people tend to stay in close contact for long periods of time, another known transmission risk factor. Hugging, talking closely in crowded rooms, and sitting near to others are all risky behaviors. By limiting how people can celebrate, Newsom is reducing the risk for all citizens of his state, which has been hit hard by the virus. 

Holidays and other large gatherings such as the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally have proven to increase coronavirus cases. Since Thanksgiving is known to be one of the busiest times of the year for travel, it makes sense that extra restrictions should be applied to mitigate risk. The potential for an enormous spike following an unregulated holiday is genuine, and Newsom was wise to put regulations in place.

There is no doubt many families who have been isolating are anxious to get together to celebrate. It's important for those families who feel the restrictions are too severe to consider those among them who are at elevated risk of death. These CA restrictions are sure to protect grandparents and family members with chronic health conditions, which will keep them around for Thanksgiving for years to come.


Bill (no)

Gov. Newsom's Thanksgiving restrictions couldn't be more wrong. It's difficult to know where to begin unraveling the breathtaking audacity of Newsom's latest decree, but let's start with the fact that it's unconstitutional. The first amendment to the US Constitution guarantees 'the right of the people peaceably to assemble.' Newsom is trying to dictate how Californians assemble. His arbitrary conditions include a restriction on the number of households who may attend Thanksgiving dinner. What if families have more than two married children or invite aunts, uncles, cousins, or friends who would otherwise be alone?

Not content with restricting the number of households who may attend Thanksgiving, Newsom wants the event ended within two hours. Who has ever concluded Thanksgiving dinner in two hours or less? One of the NFL football games during Thanksgiving lasts about twice as long as that. And there is no science to support this restriction. What about restaurants or schools in California? Are the employees, customers, or students dismissed after two hours? Moreover, can you recall Newsom enforcing a two-hour restriction on protests or riots that caused chaos and destruction in California cities?

Finally, Newsom's restrictions discriminate against Californians who don't have the luxury of living in an estate, as it calls for seating that provides 'at least six feet of distance in all directions.' Who has a dinner table that meets that criterion? In an admission that his restrictions are unenforceable, Newsom wants hosts to collect contract tracing information on their guests if it's 'needed later.' The remaining restrictions fall under the same ridiculously hypocritical and Constitution-defying nature as the ones listed above. CA government, again, has gone too far.

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