By: Daniel Shen ’23
Published Dec. 24, 2020
Ever since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, restrictions have been placed on the American people to protect them. Recently, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease, said, “We are going to have to do the kinds of restrictions of things we would have liked to have done.” Fauci is referring to the new precautions against social gatherings during the holiday season.
However, despite recent surges in coronavirus cases, many people are not heeding the warnings and advice given by the government. According to ABC News, two bars in Patterson, New Jersey had to be shut down for selling alcohol past ten o’clock. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy further emphasized this problem by stating, “The rate of non-cooperation with our contact tracers is now up to a whopping 74% of cases… Quite frankly this is unacceptable and we need folks to turn that around.” The dangers of such gatherings, if they are undetected, are incredibly prevalent as the outbreak continues to progress.
On December 4th, Governor Murphy decided to tighten COVID-19 restrictions. As he signed Executive Order No. 204, Murphy stated, “As we battle the second wave of COVID-19, we must continue to take all steps necessary to prevent needless infections, hospitalizations, and deaths from this deadly virus.” Now the question is what kind of restrictions are going to be imposed.
One of the biggest is a limit on outdoor gatherings from 150 people down to 25 in order to limit contact. The only exceptions, as Murphy tweeted on his Twitter account, are for “religious and political activities, funerals, memorial services, and wedding ceremonies.”
Furthermore, indoor gatherings are limited to ten people. Dr. Edward Lifshitz, the NJ Department of Health Communicable Disease Service Medical Director, further elaborated by stating, “Indoor holiday gatherings should be limited to immediate household members if possible, and intergenerational gatherings should be avoided also whenever possible.”
These new COVID-19 restrictions have been facing some backlash. Some people argue that some of the restrictions infringe on the rights that they are endowed by the U.S. Constitution. Recently, Andrew Kudrick Jr., the chief of police in Howell Township, New Jersey, said “that we’re not going to enforce some of these executive orders which I feel are basically draconian.”
To further widen the rift between government-imposed orders and the people who are physically imposing them, Chief Kudrick also said that he would not send his officers “knocking on doors and ruining somebody’s holiday just to check how many people are inside their house. It’s not happening.”
People place a great deal of importance on family when debating coronavirus restrictions. During such a difficult time, many feel that it is important to spend quality time with family, while following proper safety guidelines. Though people may be dealing with the outbreak differently, unity is more important than ever in fighting against the virus.