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TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichili needs no introduction, but at your family’s Thanksgiving gathering next week, your guests will need an introduction to her rules of COVID-19 party safety. According to Persichili your guests should avoid singing, talking loudly and you should definitely not play loud music as you eat your turkey.
“If you do host indoors, increase your ventilation by opening windows and doors by placing central air and heating on continuous circulation. If you are hosting, provide attendees with supplies that help everyone stay healthy. These include extra masks, perhaps a hand sanitizer, tissues, stock bathrooms with enough hand soap and single-use towels. Remind attendees to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol,” Persichili said. “Limit contact with commonly touched surfaces or shared items such as serving utensils. Use single-use options, or identify one person to serve shareable items like salad dressings or food containers, plates, utensils and condiments. Encourage guests to avoid singing or shouting, especially indoors. Keep music levels down so people don’t have to speak loudly to be heard. Please keep safety in mind while celebrating the holiday.”
“Judy just banned singing,” Murphy said.
Persichili told residents not to let their guard down on Thanksgiving.
We cannot let our guard down because we know the gatherings provide an opportunity for COVID-19 to spread. With the upcoming holiday season, the department will be providing guidance today to the administrators of long-term care facilities to protect the health of this vulnerable population. The department strongly recommends against families taking residents out of the facilities for holiday celebrations or gatherings. Individuals at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should avoid gatherings with individuals that they don’t live with. Small family gatherings are a significant driver of increasing cases.
Thinking of violating the Phil Murphy Thanksgiving gathering limit? Think again. Governor Phil Murphy and New Jersey State Police Superintendent Patrick Callahan said they will be on top of the enforcement of the governor’s newest executive order, although regulating indoor home activity is more difficult than fining businesses open to the public.
“But enforcement [indoors]. But there’s no question behind private doors, it’s harder. It is harder and which is why we’re pleading with folks,” Murphy said. “You know, we can’t, Pat or colleagues or I or any of us, can’t be inside your living room for Thanksgiving, you probably wouldn’t want us there to begin with. But we can’t. We don’t have visibility into most of those. But that does not mean that we as an enforcement matter are not going to be is all over it as we can be.”