‘COVID fatigue’ pushing some to the breaking point — NJ Top News for 11/24
Gov. Phil Murphy is making a last-ditch plea to get you to cancel plans for a large Thanksgiving dinner. During his most recent COVID briefing, he and his health commissioner urged you to limit attendance only to those in your immediate family bubble. They urge you to keep doors and windows open and circulate your heating and cooling fan.
They also advise: No loud talking or singing, wear a mask, stay away from the kitchen and keep your distance. Murphy would prefer you host outside, but with rain in the forecast, that seems unlikely.
These regulations have been met with everything from mockery to derision by many. A majority of those commenting on the New Jersey 101.5 Facebook page and calling into our talk shows angrily declare some version of "Murphy can't tell me what to do" as they proclaim he is overstepping his authority. Many cite what they say are conflicting rules from the governor — like limiting Thanksgiving dinner at a private residence to 10 people, when restaurants can still have more. Or prohibiting more than 150 people to an outside gathering, unless it's a wedding, political rally or religious ceremony.
Murphy continues to deflect such criticisms (the governor has said larger limits are allowed for certain activities because of First Amendment considerations), while at the same time acknowledging "COVID fatigue." The level of public frustration was graphically captured in a viral video showing the governor and his family being confronted by a woman at a Red Bank restaurant. In the video, the woman uses profanity to berate the governor and his family for not wearing a mask, which is allowed when eating. When asked about the confrontation, Murphy was upset his kids were yelled at, but added, "There's more stress in our state and our country than any of us has ever seen. Let's all keep each other in our prayers right now."
Health officials stress we are headed into a dangerous time, as cold weather forces more of us indoors for extended periods, and mass vaccinations for the general public still months away. It's unlikely frazzled nerves will be salved anytime soon, and many worry about what restrictions are coming next. Murphy says "all options remain on the table," and that includes another potential lockdown. However, the governor did reject a strict 10-day lockdown wanted by the mayor of Newark. Restaurants are bracing for what they fear will be a halt to indoor dining, though so far, Murphy has said he doesn't see any sign of outbreaks connected to the indoor dining currently allowed. Businesses are fearful of restrictions that will force more of them into bankruptcy. About 100 business owners rallied in Morris County last weekend.
What comes next is just another of the many great unknowns that has confronted us during this pandemic, and that will only add more fuel to the anxiety that is impacting every aspect of life in New Jersey.
More New Jersey Top News:
- Outdoor dining doesn't look like an option for Thanksgiving. Rain is in the forecast.
- Nearly a quarter of those hospitalized in New Jersey for novel coronavirus infections are listed in critical condition.
- With federal approval of Pfizer's COVID vaccine all but a certainty, New Jersey expects to begin inoculating front-line workers as early as December.
- With so many New Jerseyans struggling financially amid the ongoing pandemic, there are some places offering a free Thanksgiving meal.
- New Jersey will no longer print drivers licenses at MVC offices. All new and renewed licenses will be issued from a centralized and secure location and mailed to drivers.
- Would more people would be willing to become an organ donor if they didn't have to worry about repercussions from their insurance company?
- Despite the pandemic, Vineland will proceed with its annual Main Street Christmas Parade on Saturday.