Governor Phil Murphy is doing his best to discourage Thanksgiving dinners in New Jersey as COVID-19 cases surge past where we were last April, and hospitalizations reach their highest level since the summer.

If you were envisioning your family all around a big table laughing and sharing family stories, think again. Building off guidance from the CDC and the NJ Health Department, the recommendations include not only limiting contact with no hugs and handshakes, but to avoid loud talking or singing. That, health officials warn, can spread airborne particles, especially if you are trying to shout over a crowd or loud music.

State Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli also warned to leave grandma in the nursing home. Long-term care facilities are tracking who comes and goes, and anyone leaving for a holiday dinner will have to quarantine for 14 days. If they don't have a private room, they might not be allowed back in at all.

Indoor gatherings are now capped at 10, including inside private homes. There has been tremendous pushback from the public, but Murphy says these restrictions are needed now more than ever. Murphy says there is no "magic door" that when you enter your home you are safe. He also continued to blame teens and 20-somethings for being careless and spreading coronavirus to others.

Murphy also announced a "sustained," coordinated effort at enforcement of his executive orders. Agents with the State Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control visited more than 100 bars and restaurants in the last few days, citing 15 of them. It remains unclear, however, how — or if — there will be widespread enforcement of gathering rules in private homes.

More New Jersey Top News: 

  • Even with two promising COVID vaccines on the verge of getting government approval, Murphy says it will take months to have enough people inoculated to get back to some semblance of normal.
  • Indoor dining remains an option for New Jersey, but Philly has banned it at least until the New Year. Fans are also banned from attending Eagles games at the Linc.
  • The change to a marijuana decriminalization bill that downgrades the penalties for possession of so-called ‘magic mushrooms’ has delayed approval in the Assembly.
  • Efforts by Assembly Republicans to curb some of the governor's executive powers have been stymied by Democrats.
  • Yesterday was the deadline to file a sex abuse claim against the Boy Scouts in their bankruptcy case. The number has exceeded initial projections.