In October, the California Department of Public Health issued its updated guidelines for public gatherings ahead of the holiday season in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
According to the guidelines, gatherings with more than three households are not allowed. Also, keeping households “stable” was also recommended, as the guidelines suggest that staying around the same group of people helps reduce the risk of transmission.
Also recommended was that the host should keep track of everyone in attendance in the event that contact tracing is needed. In addition to recommendations like gathering outdoors and keeping the event duration under two hours, it leaves families wondering whether they should even celebrate the holidays at all.
But those recommendations aren’t even the most ridiculous. Taking the cake was the rules against “singing, chanting, shouting and physical exertion,” as the guidelines suggest that this sends “fine aerosols” into the air and therefore should be discouraged. And if one must sing or chant, that it must be done so quietly.
So it sounds like caroling is cancelled. Oh joy. Add on socially distanced seating and you have the most anti-social event you’ll ever attend. Sorry, Grandma.
Apparently Gov. Gavin Newsom caught wind of the outrage, stating that this wasn’t intended to be a “Thanksgiving” mandate and that further guidance for that specific holiday would be coming soon. But with Thanksgiving and Christmas just weeks away, it’s no wonder the public assumes that these recommendations would apply to a time where more families would come together.
Look, we’ve been through a lot. Be it loss of lives or loss of livelihoods, most Americans long for normalcy. After all, no COVID mandate is going to stop 65-year-old Auntie Carol from baking her famous mac and cheese and giving you some “sugah.” Instead, let’s leave irrational fear at the door and invite some common sense to the table this holiday season. And like in many American households, just don’t be nasty and please wash your hands.