White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany slammed what she called “Orwellian” Thanksgiving state mandates amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think a lot of the guidelines you’re seeing are Orwellian,” McEnany told “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday, adding that Americans can “make responsible health decisions as individuals.”
She stressed that “the American people know how to protect their health.”
“We dealt with COVID for many months,” she continued.
McEnany pointed to the safety guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), saying the agency “has put out considerations as we prepare to go about Thanksgiving, about socially distancing, wearing masks, doing what you can.”
She made the comments as coronavirus cases across the country have been surging with more than 11.4 million cases reported in the U.S. since the COVID-19 pandemic started, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
As a result, the governors of several states have been reinstating safety precautions in recent weeks in an effort to slow the spread of the virus ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday when large family gatherings and holiday getaway trips are expected to take place.
REINSTATED CORONAVIRUS RESTRICTIONS BY STATE: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The governors have enacted extensive measures from halting in-person classes to limiting indoor and outdoor dining operations.
In California, for example, Los Angeles County is expected to implement a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. for all nonessential businesses starting Friday. LA County Supervisor Shelia Kuehl told KNX Radio that aside from the new curfew, outdoor seating for restaurants will be reduced to 50% capacity and max capacity for other businesses will be reduced to 25%.
About 41 counties across the state have been placed in the strictest "purple" category of the reopening roadmap. Many businesses in those counties will have to suspend or severely limit their indoor operations.
Officials have urged those planning holiday gatherings to take strict precautions, including keeping visits small, outdoors and under two hours.
McEnany pointed to Oregon on Wednesday saying, “It’s Orwellian in a place like Oregon to say if you gather in numbers more than six, we might come to your house and arrest you, and you get 30 days of jail time.”
She was referencing Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s intention to take a tougher approach to enforce her “two-week freeze" order that took effect Wednesday, which would limit the size of social gatherings to no more than six people, Oregon Live reported.
The governor reportedly warned that violations are misdemeanors punishable by citation or arrest and said she would work with state police and local law enforcement to encourage Oregonians to adhere to her order, according to the news outlet.
“That’s not the American way,” McEnany stressed. “We don’t lose our freedom in this country. We make responsible health decisions as individuals.”
Also under the order in Oregon, most indoor facilities, such as gyms and restaurants, will close, and indoor capacity for essential services such as grocery stores and pharmacies will be limited.
All businesses are urged to mandate work from home. The state is also pausing long-term care facility visits that take place indoors.
However, the two-week freeze does not apply to personal services such as barbershops, hair salons, and non-medical massage therapy, congregate homeless sheltering, outdoor recreation and sports, youth programs, childcare, K-12 schools and K-12 sports.
On Tuesday, 924 new coronavirus cases have been reported in Oregon, according to data provided by the New York Times.
FeedLine.net’ Daniella Genovese contributed to this report.
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