The Center for Disease Control posted its Thanksgiving Guidelines this week, which look strangely familiar to California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Oct. 9 document, “Mandatory Requirements for All Gatherings,” directing all private family “gatherings” to limit the number of attendees, and are required to be held outside.
The Globe first wrote about the “gatherings” restrictions October 13, in “Gov. Newsom Limits Gatherings to Three Families, Two Hours Or Less, No Singing.” Since then, the governor has denied vehemently that he has issued holiday or Thanksgiving orders, but assures us that he will.
We asked, “Do riots and protests count as ‘gatherings?’” Since then, it is obvious there are no guidelines for riots and protests, but families are limited to no more than three families, frequent sterilizing, wearing a mask between bites of food, and no “Singing, Chanting, and Shouting at Outdoor Gatherings.”
Could the real reason behind Gov. Newsom’s restrictive gatherings directive has little to do with public health, and more to do with what happens when normal people gather together in pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants, where they tend to speak freely. The framers of our country were regular habitués of pubs and public houses and honed many of their exquisite writings there.
A wise friend suggested the real danger – a contagion of Freedom might be spread.
The CDC guidelines:
Hosting a Thanksgiving Gathering
If having guests to your home, be sure that people follow the steps that everyone can take to make Thanksgiving safer. Other steps you can take include:
- Have a small outdoor meal with family and friends who live in your community.
- Limit the number of guests.
- Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
- If celebrating indoors, make sure to open windows.
- Limit the number of people in food preparation areas.
- Have guests bring their own food and drink.
- If sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils.
“If celebrating indoors, make sure to open windows,” the CDC guidance reads. And “Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you.”
California’s CDPH “Gatherings” Guidelines:
Mandatory Requirements for All Gatherings
All persons planning to host or participate in a private gathering, as defined above, must comply with the following requirements. Local health jurisdictions may be more restrictive than this guidance. Refer to your local guidance for what is allowed in your area.
- Gatherings that include more than 3 households are prohibited. This includes everyone present, including hosts and guests. Remember, the smaller the number of people, the safer.
- Keep the households that you interact with stable over time. By spending time with the same people, risk of transmission is reduced. Participating in multiple gatherings with different households or groups is strongly discouraged.
- The host should collect names of all attendees and contact information in case contact tracing is needed later.
2. Gather Outdoors
- Gatherings that occur outdoors are significantly safer than indoor gatherings. All gatherings must be held outside. Attendees may go inside to use restrooms as long as the restrooms are frequently sanitized.
- 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.
- A gathering of no more than three households is permitted in a public park or other outdoor space, even if unrelated gatherings of other groups up to three households are also occurring in the same park or other outdoor space. If multiple such gatherings are occurring, mixing between group gatherings is not allowed. Additionally, multiple gatherings of three households cannot be jointly organized or coordinated to occur in the same public park or other outdoor space at the same time – this would constitute a gathering exceeding the permitted size.
The CDC takes it a step further than even California and suggests hosting a “virtual” Thanksgiving:
Consider Other Thanksgiving Activities
Host a virtual Thanksgiving meal with friends and family who don’t live with you.
- Schedule a time to share a meal together virtually.
- Have people share recipes and show their turkey, dressing, or other dishes they prepared.
Watch television and play games with people in your household
- Watch Thanksgiving Day parades, sports, and movies at home.
- Find a fun game to play.
California warns to “keep it short” — gatherings can be only two hours long:
Keep it short
- Gatherings should be two hours or less. The longer the duration, the risk of transmission increases.
And no singing, chanting, shouting or playing wind instruments:
- 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. Because of this, singing, chanting, and shouting are strongly discouraged, but if they occur, the following rules and recommendations apply:
- All people who are singing or chanting should wear a face covering at all times while singing or chanting, including anyone who is leading a song or chant. Because these activities pose a very high risk of COVID-19 transmission, face coverings are essential to reduce the spread of respiratory droplets and fine aerosols;
- People who are singing, shouting, chanting, or exercising are strongly encouraged to maintain physical distancing beyond 6 feet to further reduce risk.
- People who are singing or chanting are strongly encouraged to do so quietly (at or below the volume of a normal speaking voice).
- Instrumental music is allowed as long as the musicians maintain at least 6-foot physical distancing. Musicians must be from one of the three households. Playing of wind instruments (any instrument played by the mouth, such as a trumpet or clarinet) is strongly discouraged.
The CDC suggests “Safely preparing traditional dishes and deliver them to family and neighbors in a way that does not involve contact with others: leave them on the porch.” (No contact, no speaking).
And there is always the recommended “gratitude activity:”
“Participate in a gratitude activity, like writing down things you are grateful for and sharing with your friends and family.”
All of these directives ignore the World Health Organization’s special envoy on COVID-19 urging world leaders recently to stop “using lockdowns as your primary control method.”
As a California Globe reader commented, “My family has never chanted before, but we are going to this year!”