Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother's house — we should not go.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy joined the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, in urging families to have more scaled back celebrations for Thanksgiving and the holiday season, as the battle to keep coronavirus from spreading drags on into its eighth month and beyond.
"We urge you to not gather around the dining room table with anyone outside your immediate household," Murphy said at a press conference on Friday. "And if you do, to limit that reach to only a limited number of close relatives or friends with whom you've been with throughout this pandemic, and to move — if at all possible — your celebration outdoors."
The governor's wishes suggests turkeys and trimmings may not be flying off grocery store shelves this Thanksgiving, or at least not in the volume that has become customary in the weeks leading up to the holiday.
Fauci also urged Americans to rethink their usual plans for Thanksgiving gatherings, citing increased coronavirus infections and hospitalizations in more than two dozen states around the country. He said that given the rise in cases, “we’ve really got to double down on fundamental public health measures that we talk about every day because they can make a difference.”
Millions of Americans normally travel to gather with families and friends on Thanksgiving. Fauci said this November may need to be different.
"We really have to be careful this time that each individual family evaluates the risk-benefit," he said, adding that it's especially important because people traveling over the holiday often pass through crowded transportation hubs such as airports.
“If you have vulnerable people, the elderly or people that have underlying conditions, you better consider whether you want to do that now or maybe just forestall it and wait,” he said.
Outside a New Jersey grocery store on Friday, there was mixed reaction to Murphy's plea. Some said they will continue to wear masks and have a small celebration, while others were not as willing to cancel their plans.
"Yes, I did lose people. A hundred percent I did lose people. Did I also see people get well? I did. So I feel we have to stop living in fear and we just have to start living again," said North Brunswick resident Hope Simpson. "It's enough. I've seen too many people suffer during loneliness, and like they say, sometimes the cure is worse than the virus itself."
Still, others are ahead of the governor, already accepting that the best part of Thanksgiving — coming together with friends and loved ones for a communal meal — is lost, but are prepared with plan B.
"We have maybe 50, 60 people, but we're not doing it this year," said Catherine Moore. "We decided we're just going to cook and I'll make take out trays and drop it off with the families."