The Governor recently announced new restrictions, the latest set of actions aimed at harnessing the coronavirus in New York. In addition to the travel restrictions, having negative tests both before and after you come to New York, he has deployed the National Guard at the airports and tunnels. In the past week, he went even further in requiring restaurants and bars with liquor licenses to close up shop by 10 p.m. All this to combat rising infection and hospitalization rates. No one wants to go back to the early days when we were afraid to even go outside.
While wearing a mask might not be popular in middle America, for the most part, New Yorkers have been pretty diligent about donning the facial coverings. A walk-through Manhattan will reveal almost everyone wearing something on their face. Even here in Rockaway, everyone is respectful and follows the rules in stores, and when not socially distant. My trips to Brooklyn and northern Queens also find people in the streets wearing masks. New Yorkers get it and are following the rules.
But the latest pronouncement from the Governor requires that no more than ten people gather in personal residences. This seems to be put in place just in time for Thanksgiving. New Yorkers celebrate this classic American holiday with family and friends. So, it appears that the Governor is saying to us all, rank your family and friends, determine the cutoff at ten, and then tell everyone from ten on that they can’t celebrate with you.
Now for some, this may come as a great relief, because there are just some folks who always come to Thanksgiving empty-handed, or late, or stay too late, or are too loud! Now folks can say, hey I am only following the Governor’s rules, and I don’t want to be a super-spreader, and I am really just looking out for your safety and health, so please stay home. In fact, you can probably lower the number from ten to something lower and blame the top executive of New York State. “Sorry, man, you know the Governor said no!”.
For others who truly love their families, this will prove to be a very difficult time. Telling Uncle Ralphie “sorry, you can’t come over,” or maybe telling Uncle Ralphie, “you can come over, but Aunt Millie needs to stay home,” will be a really hard thing to do. And how do you determine what separates guests numbers 9, 10 and 11. I mean 9 and 10 are in, but 11 will just have to figure out Thanksgiving on their own? I pity anyone who has a big family, which is just about everyone in Rockaway. Of course, this may result in the sale of many more turkeys, because a large turkey that could feed several family members will now result in the sale of two or three turkeys, as a group of 20 or more are broken up into groups of ten.
Enforcement will be especially tricky during Thanksgiving. I can only imagine the door-to-door searches that will ensue across the state looking for rule-breakers. “Hello mam, yes it’s the National Guard, mind if we count your guests?” I guess if you break the law (the Governor’s pronouncement is a law?) there will be penalties to pay. And if your celebration has a group of say, 15 people, won’t it be awkward to tell five they have to leave before they have any turkey or stuffing? As a former accountant, I would use either the FIFO or LIFO methods myself, first or last ones in are out.
Well, I hope I make the cut (no pun intended) and have a seat for Thanksgiving dinner this year, I don’t want to be the odd man!! I am pretty sure the Governor won’t have to worry; I don’t think he will be on too many invitation lists this year.
By Lou Pastina