Thanksgiving is usually a time when family and friends gather for a big feast, followed by a nightcap in front of the TV watching soccer. But 2020 is not a typical year, and with COVID-19 infections and hospital admissions reaching new highs, Thanksgiving will look different for most in the country. The same is true for the people of New York.
With rising COVID-19 rates and the threat of an even greater second rise that could hit the state in the cooler months and during the holidays, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that a new curfew for bars, restaurants and gyms will come into effect on Friday, which must be closed by 10:00 p.m., as well as a limit of ten people for indoor meetings. Yes, this means that you cannot have more than 10 loved ones together in the same residence, even on Thanksgiving.
How such a rule could be enforced is unclear, as is the penalty. This summer, New York City imposed fines of up to $15,000 a day for violations of the rules for mass gatherings when the last maximum capacity was imposed. During this time, fines of up to $1,000 were imposed for socially distanced and masked violations, although most people in these cases received only warnings.
Although the state and counties of New York City did not experience a dramatic increase in cases, there was nevertheless an upward trend. The Empire State reported a 2.9 percent number of positive coronavirus cases on Tuesday, and the seven-day average number of positive cases in the city rose to 2.52 percent, the highest level since June. The new restrictions were probably also influenced by neighboring New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which are currently experiencing particularly high increases in new infections and hospitalizations.
A person who says that he or she will not comply with Cuomo’s new restrictions is a politician in his or her own state. Staten Island Council member Joe Borelli said that nothing will change for him and his family on this holiday.
“I will have more than 10 ppl in my house on Thanksgiving. My address is public knowledge. Some family members will be from (wheezing!) New Jersey,” tweeted Borelli, a Republican, after Cuomo’s announcement of the new restrictions.
He added: “Children will see their grandparents, cousins will play in the yard, the sister-in-law will bring strawberry-rhubarb pie, & a turkey will be cooked.
I will have more than 10 people in my house for Thanksgiving. My address is public knowledge. One family will be from New Jersey.
Children will see their grandparents, cousins will play in the garden, the sister-in-law will bring strawberry-rhubarb pie, & one turkey will be overcooked.
– Joe Borelli (@JoeBorelliNYC) November 11, 2020
Staten Island currently has a higher COVID-19 positive test rate than any other borough in the city and is home to the neighborhood with the absolute highest rate in the Big Apple – Tottenville, which showed a 6 percent positive test rate last weekend.
“If these measures aren’t enough to slow the spread, we will reduce – we will continue to turn the valve, and part of that would be reducing the number of people eating indoors,” Governor Cuomo said yesterday during a conference call announcing the restrictions. “If this doesn’t work, if these numbers continue to go crazy, there are some scientists who believe we will return to a closure. I pray that this will not happen”.