Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and for most of us, this is a time of thanks… rest day. But this is usually a one-day holiday, and we spend a whole day with family and friends. Grandparents like grandchildren. When their team wins ball games, all the guys gather around the TV and rank in the top five with each other. In the end, everyone gathered around the table and shared the food family style.
But this year is different due to COVID-19. Since these large family gatherings may be multiple small super-spread events, many state and local governments have tried to find ways to limit Thanksgiving activities. Almost everyone is reluctant to participate in traditional large family gatherings, and health and safety guidelines are provided. Some people prohibit gatherings more than a certain number or a certain number of families. Some city officials said that the police may randomly visit houses and impose fines on those who do not follow these orders.
Despite these measures, I think we all know that most families still celebrate Thanksgiving together. People are still on vacation. They waited in Costco or Walmart for hours in line to get last-minute turkey and toilet paper. Of course, there may be fewer gatherings than in the past. And most families will do their best to comply with the law and make every effort to ensure everyone is safe.
But let’s face it. We all rely on the honor system. We assume that the person we invite is responsible. No one will ask friends or family members to provide evidence of a negative coronavirus test. We would think that cousin Johnny’s cough was just the flu. We will not tell the elderly to keep their grandchildren away socially. Moreover, no family would sit at a table six feet apart, eating a Thanksgiving-style TV dinner while using Zoom or Facetime to talk to each other.
Most people who are not infected think the virus is a problem for others. I’m sure we all know at least a local news report that an infected person went to a party and eventually infected everyone. As a result, all those who attended the meeting had to be isolated and tested, missed work, and kept distance from their families. Some may even have been hospitalized. But this will not happen to us. We are good people, responsible people, right? The people in the news must not be doing well, or they may not pray hard enough.
The government may take very severe action and force everyone to stay at home tomorrow. But this will anger those who are tired of being locked out of work again. And I suspect that many people will ignore the command.
As for law enforcement, how far does the government have to go? I am sure that if violence is involved, or if the noise of the gathering is beyond the capacity of its neighbors, the police will intervene. But I really did not see that the police had the manpower, time and will to conduct door-to-door inspections of every house. Do they really want to break an otherwise peaceful family gathering because this person exceeds the recommended limit?
I think the solution is to be cautious and perform due diligence before deciding to attend a family Thanksgiving party. Think about family participation. Does one of them often post that COVID-19 is a scam? Did another preach on social media about distance and mask wearing, but post a selfie of yourself at the party in question three hours later? If you have a bad sympathy for someone’s participation, then please consider yourself seriously.
If there are organizers attending the gathering, they should be asked to ask all participants about the potential exposure of COVID-19. They should also ask participants their thoughts about COVID-19, social distancing and wearing masks. Those who seem to be at risk should be prevented (or even banned) from participating. Unfortunately, this may include medical staff. Food can be sent to them, and they can have remote and virtual meetings with their families.
If possible, participants should be encouraged to test if they can get results through Thanksgiving.
This may seem too distracting for family gatherings, but I want people to understand in the age we live in. We can all get to know all those who participated in the event better and feel happy about Thanksgiving. Those who cannot participate should get accommodation.
Most governments have imposed restrictions on our Thanksgiving Day activities in order to control the spread of COVID-19. However, I don’t think everyone will strictly abide by them. We have a responsibility to do the right thing. As long as everyone takes some common sense precautions, I think the curve will flatten out on holiday weekends. Otherwise, the next day will be another Black Friday, and the government may be forced to serve as the Grinch at Christmas.
Steven Chung is a tax attorney in Los Angeles, California. He helps people with basic tax planning and settlement of tax disputes. He also expressed sympathy for those who have a lot of student loans. You can contact him by email email@example.com. Or, you can contact him on Twitter (@stevenchung) And establish contact with him LinkedIn.