<menu id="e0soc"><strong id="e0soc"></strong></menu>
  • <menu id="e0soc"><strong id="e0soc"></strong></menu>
    <nav id="e0soc"></nav>
  • xml:space="preserve">

    Sorry, gov, I’m hosting a big Thanksgiving

    Uncle Bill was a Navy frogman, the precursor to the SEALs, and on every holiday, he regales our family with tales from the Korean War and of his sailor’s appreciation for the fine ladies of Anchorage. He is the 11th member of my extended family, and when he comes to my home, he will have a place set at the Borelli family Thanksgiving table regardless of whether Gov. Cuomo or Mayor de Blasio approves.

    Let me be clear about this: Government should have no role in determining how many family members you may lawfully have in your own home. Not even in the midst of a deadly pandemic. Suggestions, recommendations or guidelines are all fine, but our governor’s and mayor’s new regulation requiring 10 or fewer people in a private residence crosses a line. My family, my house, and, so long as we obey fire and zoning codes, my rules.


    Besides, you try telling Uncle Bill to shelter from a virus.

    It is now November 2020, eight months after COVID-19 overran our hospitals and elder care facilities, and sent thousands of our neighbors to untimely deaths. That happened. It was tragic. There’s no denying it.


    Nearly a year later, most states have learned to better protect their most vulnerable residents, and there are treatment breakthroughs each day. We are on the verge of a widely distributed vaccine, and gone are the days sending patients back into nursing homes or hastily placing them on ventilators.

    The work of our medical community has driven our death rate significantly lower, even as the number of overall cases rises steadily here and around the country. Staten Island, now considered a “hot spot” by state standards, has recorded 19 COVID related deaths since Labor Day. While still tragic, it is a far cry from the 26 who passed away in a single day on Easter, the last holiday I spent without my family.

    This means that we must still take precautions, wear masks, avoid unnecessary exposure and self-quarantine when warranted. But we must also not return to the panic that we faced this spring, when the pathogen had overrun our city and medical professionals genuinely lacked a grasp of the complexity and severity of the virus.

    We were promised that the initial lockdown was to flatten the curve. That was accomplished, and government leaders can’t continue to threaten and crush small businesses with new measures that seemingly have become more absurd as the weeks go on.

    And yes, some of the measures have become absurd. You can now work out in the gym at 9:45 p.m., but not 10:15. Schools must shut in “hot zones,” but daycares in those same zones may remain open.

    Then there is my favorite: To eat, we can pack ourselves into bouncy house-style tents with jerry-rigged electrical heaters along streets that now resemble Hoovervilles, but we absolutely cannot open restaurants’ indoor spaces at even 50% capacity.

    These rules are all made more silly in that they were promulgated by a man who just wrote a book entitled “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Now he is leading the nation in regulating how many place settings can be set at your Thanksgiving table, with Hanukkah, Christmas and Eid al-Fitr sure to follow. The Uncle Bills of New York be damned.

    The rule also lacks the nuance to make it practical. Just like each family is different, so is each dwelling. A large home could safely fit a dozen, while a small studio plainly cannot. This is why all of our restaurant rules factor in capacity. Speaking of which, those same 12 relatives can spend Thanksgiving inside a restaurant, so long as only four sit at each table. Ironic, I know.

    I am not suggesting you flaunt the rule for the sake of flaunting the rule. That is unnecessary, irresponsible and pointless. If your loved ones add up to 13, invite those 13. Your family is your family. Your home is your home.

    Do not assume this diktat will go unenforced; my home address is publicly available, so maybe we’ll get a visit. We live in a state where the long arm of the law now stretches further than it ever has. Recall it was just days ago when Jewish-owned businesses were being fined and shuttered, while throughout the rest of the city large crowds amassed and celebrated the election results. Many without masks! Perhaps that will have more to do with a growing COVID spike than the 11th person at my dinner table.

    Do not let Cuomo be your grinch this holiday. Remember the basic precautions, but if there is one thing the pandemic has taught us, is that we should enjoy every moment with our families.

    Borelli is a councilman on Staten Island.

    Recommended on Daily News