As I write this on Nov. 16, what we know is later Monday Gov. Phil Murphy will give more information at an afternoon COVID-19 press briefing, but that it is being announced you soon won’t be allowed to have a gathering of more than 10 people in your private home. This is, of course, a Libertarian’s nightmare.

(Update — Murphy did indeed make the announcement, a few hours after this piece was published. The governor and public health officials also urge people to avoid Thanksgiving gatherings altogether.)

After a weekend in which both days set back to back case records in the state since this pandemic began, the government is getting ready to act. While he says he does not want to have a statewide lockdown as in the spring, Murphy made it clear it’s a possibility with the numbers we’re seeing.

But a gathering limit of 10 inside your own home set to go in effect right before Thanksgiving? Is it practical? My household is a family of six. If I have one couple come over with their three kids, I’m in violation. How does one enforce this? Unlike the huge weddings and gatherings that were taking place in areas like Lakewood and Newark at the start of the outbreak, policing no more then 10 people per house is a daunting and likely futile task.

You’re going to rely on neighbors reporting neighbors, which seems very unlikely to happen since you’re talking 12 or 14 people inside a home during cold weather months; not noisy backyard parties of 60 that are far more obvious. Should police be used in this manner to knock on doors on Thanksgiving Day and tell families they have to break it up? I know few officers who have the stomach for it.

An honest public awareness campaign regarding what can happen at these private gatherings is probably going to be more effective than an executive order. In this sensitive situation of people’s private homes, I believe an ask is far better than a tell. We must realize even with a tell there will always be many who just won’t comply. Especially when we live in an age of irresponsible media that tells people the pandemic is over when the virus is surging faster than ever and tells people masks don’t work when new studies cited by the Centers for Disease Control show they actually work even better than previously thought. Of course people will be confused. So it’s not a matter of everyone complying. It’s a matter of trying to get through to people to lessen the number who just never will.

I believe you’ll have better luck with that in talking with them than in ordering them.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.

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