TRENTON – While the Murphy administration has mostly followed pandemic guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention throughout the public health crisis, Gov. Phil Murphy said he was slightly mystified by parts of the public health agency's newly-issued guidance regarding Thanksgiving.

In the guidance, the CDC is recommending that people refrain from gathering indoors for Thanksgiving and other upcoming holiday celebrations, even if everyone at the gathering is fully vaccinated. Instead, the CDC is recommending holding the get-togethers virtually or outside. If you must have dinner inside, people should open doors and windows and strongly consider getting a window fan to keep air circulating.

During the latest coronavirus update in Trenton on Monday, Murphy suggested that perhaps this wasn't the best approach to take.

"We lose lose credibility if we’re being seen to be draconian when it completely defies common sense,” when asked about the guidance, adding that he hopes "we never cross that line.”

Murphy said holidays like Thanksgiving aren't like New Year's Eve where you might not know the vaccination status of those you're with.

“So, if it’s your family and you know your vaccination status, and you’re getting around a table for Thanksgiving dinner, I think it’s out of bounds for us to say you gotta whatever - wear a mask, don’t have the dinner, whatever.”

The governor said people should make decisions based on the facts and their common sense, adding that to him, that is the "winning combination."

Murphy said millions have done just that with over 5.8 million people who live, work or go to school in New Jersey fully vaccinated.

“I don’t see why if you know everyone’s status you can’t sit down and enjoy dinner together, so that (the guidance on holding Thanksgiving dinner outside or virtually) is not coming from me.”

Murphy also pointed out that despite New Jersey's high vaccination rate, there are still a significant number of people that have not or cannot get a COVID vaccine. As a result,  mask-wearing and social distancing is still important during the upcoming holidays in certain situations.

Murphy said it will be the party in somebody's basement that may wind up causing a COVID-19 outbreak where people have not been vaccinated and are not wearing a face mask.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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