Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said this week that he doesn't believe government officials should try restricting what people do in their homes.
"The holidays are coming, and as the Governor of the State of Missouri, I am not going to mandate who goes in the front door of your home. Government has no business going through the front door of your homes to decide how many members of your family are there, how many are not," Parson, a Republican, said in a statement before Thanksgiving.
Parson did encourage people to social distance, wear masks, and wash their hands amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also advised people to host outdoor activities as opposed to indoor ones.
"If hosting an indoor event, avoid crowded, poorly ventilated, or fully enclosed indoor spaces," he said.
“With the holidays coming, it’s up to us—not government, but me and you—to change the way we do Thanksgivings. And I would recommend that. My own family’s Thanksgiving will not look the same as it has in years past," the governor, in his first term, told a press conference.
"My in-laws are in their 80s, they both have underlying health conditions, and my family won’t expose them to the possibility of COVID-19 when we don’t have to," he added.
Randall Williams, Missouri's top health official, said people should not attend gatherings if they show symptoms that could indicate COVID-19, such as cough, fever, and chills.
“You’ve got to be willing to change your plans if you become symptomatic,” he said. “You have to be much more thoughtful about Thanksgiving than you've ever been.”
Parson imposed a stay-at-home order in mid-April but ended it a few weeks later. He also ordered in March no social gatherings with 10 or more people.
The governor has resisted imposing a statewide mask mandate and there is no current restriction on gathering size, though people are encouraged to avoid gatherings of over 10 people.
Other governors imposed harsh measures in the days and weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, ordered no gatherings of 11 or more people, starting on Nov. 13. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, this week placed most of the state into lockdown, ordering people to limit gatherings to no more than three separate households. And Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, piled on new restrictions on top of an existing order that limited gatherings to 10 people.