By The Signal Editorial Board
The nanny state is coming at us in full force. And, we must acknowledge, not without some reason: The number of COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County, the Santa Clarita Valley and indeed throughout the state of California is indeed cause for alarm.
But Sacramento has never met a government over-reach it didn’t reach for, and the COVID-19 response is no exception. And, as you prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving with loved ones, there’s an example of such over-reach standing right between you and the turkey.
The state and county health departments, in anticipation of one of our nation’s most cherished holidays, are asking you to follow these “Mandatory Requirements for All Gatherings” — not suggestions, “requirements” — as listed on the California Public Health Department’s website, starting with the preamble, “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.”
The following requirements — condensed here for brevity’s sake — apply to your Thanksgiving celebration:
Refrain from gathering with more than 15 people representing more than three households. This includes everyone present, including hosts and guests.
The host should collect names of all attendees and contact information in case contact tracing is needed later.
All gatherings must be held outside, with 6 feet of distance between you and anyone not from your own household. Attendees may go inside to use restrooms as long as the restrooms are frequently sanitized.
Limit celebrations to two hours or less. (In other words, you won’t even get through one football game, much less have time for dessert.)
All attendees must wear masks except when taking a bite. (Make sure to put the mask back on while you chew.)
Face coverings can also be removed to meet urgent medical needs — for example, to use an asthma inhaler, take medication, or if feeling light-headed. (Well, the state is certainly cutting you a break if you might actually suffocate or pass out while wearing your mask…)
Everyone at a gathering should frequently wash their hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. A place to wash hands or hand sanitizer must be available for participants to use.
Shared items should not be used during a gathering. As much as possible, food or beverages must be in single-serve disposable containers. If providing single-serve containers is not possible, food and beverages must be served by a person who washes or sanitizes their hands frequently, and wears a face covering. Self-serve items from communal containers should not be used.
Don’t sing or chant.
Look, we know the coronavirus must be taken seriously — and we do take it seriously, both in how we conduct our business and in our personal lives at home. Further, some of these guidelines do boil down to common sense, given the circumstances.
But we find the state’s approach to Thanksgiving and other private matters a bit heavy-handed, especially considering the source.
You’ve seen the photos of Gov. Gavin Newsom attending a private party for a dozen people at the swanky French Laundry restaurant in Napa County, right? Ironically, the guests also included maskless lobbyists from the California Medical Association.
When he was called out for it, the governor apologized for his “bad mistake” but also, in typical fashion, minimized it, saying the party, for a lobbyist friend of his, was planned to be in an outdoor setting adhering to social distancing requirements.
The pictures, which surfaced this week, tell a different story. There’s the governor, at a table for 12 (from six different households), packed together elbow-to-elbow like sardines at a pre-COVID chamber of commerce fundraiser, at a table that, sure, looks like it COULD be outdoors, if it weren’t for the doors, ceiling and walls enclosing it.
Nary a mask in sight, not even between bites.
So not only is the governor imposing his “don’t do as I do, do as I say” will upon the people of California, but he’s also lying to us about it.
Adding to the irony is the fact that this news all came out at the same time it was learned that 14 state lawmakers took an unnecessary trip to a conference in Maui to discuss ways to reopen the economy — at a time when the state government was strongly advising against unnecessary travel. You know, for everyone else.
We can only surmise they’ve never heard of Zoom.
Yes, Gov. Newsom is the chief nanny of the ultimate nanny state. But considering his own behavior, he’s like that nanny who insists you wash before supper, mind your manners, clean under your fingernails and go to bed early — then goes out on an all-night bender and ends up face-first in the gutter outside a dive bar.
Be safe, be sensible, be a good example, be reasonable. That’s our wish for all — including our government.