Family in, government out

With the COVID case numbers rising across the nation, many states and counties are placing restrictions on private gatherings for the holidays – but that may be a step over the line.


Holidays are meant to be a time for families to come together and celebrate their values or traditions. Pandemic or not, why should that change? Up until now, the government has been doing all it can to restrict spreading the virus throughout public places, but does their power extend over the number of people at private gatherings? Should their power dictate if some people see each other in-person and others have to stay away? Should they be able to tell Americans that they cannot celebrate their traditions as a family this year?

The answer? Of course not! Families have a right in this strange and chaotic year to be able to come together at the table and share a Christmas dinner with all of their family members. It should not be limited to 10 people. In fact, it should not be limited at all. People should be entrusted to be responsible enough to decide if a gathering is acceptable for their given situation. If it is not, then perhaps they would not have an issue with the restrictions, but if it is, well, then they ought to hold a gathering the way they see fit. Does the government not trust its people to be responsible enough to keep themselves and their families safe? Whether it is a gathering of 10 or 30 people, surely families are capable of taking necessary steps depending on their unique situation.

Sure, many have suggested that those who cannot be there attend virtually, but it is not the same. If there is a situation where some people have no choice but to be isolated, then, of course, joining family virtually is the best option. However, why should others – who do not have to be isolated – miss out on the interactions that can only come by actually being there if everyone is fine with having more than 10 people? A family would not go out to eat and sit at different tables, so why should they sit in different households for a family gathering if they do not wish to? Sorry, but a pandemic does not change the fact that some things just have to be in-person.

Even with morals aside, there is no way to enforce the restrictions of private gatherings. What are they going to do, have police strolling neighborhoods knocking on peoples’ doors? It makes no sense to place restrictions if they cannot be enforced, and it makes even less sense if said restrictions prevent something as important as tradition.

All in all, why should people have to throw tradition out the window for the sake of following restrictions that cannot even be enforced? Though it might work for some people, many others rightfully feel as though they should be able to see their family members during the holidays. The government is not family – they have no business dictating the number of people in a family and they definitely should not be able to control how many of those people get to celebrate in-person and together this year. After all, if the government has no place at the dinner table, why should they invite themselves in as if they do?