FACT CHECK: Did The Pennsylvania Governor Put Out This Document Listing Thanksgiving Rules?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows a document put out by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration that lists rules for celebrating Thanksgiving during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Verdict: False

There is no evidence the Wolf administration put out the pictured document. A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed it was “certainly not created or authorized by the Wolf Administration.”

Fact Check: 

The image purportedly shows a document containing “Pennsylvania Governor Wolf’s Rules for Thanksgiving Household Visits.” The list, which says the rules were “finalized” on Oct. 27, contains 13 alleged rules that Pennsylvania residents are expected to follow in order to celebrate Thanksgiving safely under COVID-19 guidelines.

Some of the rules listed in the image include: banning turkey and mashed potatoes, limiting gatherings to under two hours, requiring the gatherings be held outside and warning against physical exertion. No more than three households, including one’s own, should be present so “if you have 3 married kids, only two of them are allowed to come,” the image claims. (RELATED: Do Pennsylvania Quarantine Letters Tell People They Can’t Vote On Election Day?)

There is, however, no evidence Wolf or his administration put out the pictured document. It appears on neither the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s website nor the governor’s website. The Pennsylvania government also hasn’t put out a news release promoting the document. Maggi Mumma, a spokesperson for the DOH, told Check Your Fact in an email that “this post is not real, and was certainly not created or authorized by the Wolf Administration.”

The document appears to originate from a similar Facebook post that attempted to summarize California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s coronavirus guidelines released in October. While the list does include some actual restrictions put in place by Newsom, the creator of the list added his or her own language such as “No turkey or bowls of mash potatoes or cranberry salad.” The state of California has since updated its guidelines.

Pennsylvania recently implemented more measures to help curb the spread of COVID-19. It strengthened its mask mandate to include requiring them indoors when people from different households are together and mandated people who travel to Pennsylvania from other states to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours prior to arrival, according to The Associated Press. The state also ordered “the retail food services industry, including bars, restaurants, and private catered events must end alcohol sales for on-site consumption at 5 p.m. on Nov. 25, 2020 only,” according to the governor’s website.

“The holidays are a time for togetherness, but this year, we must rethink what that looks like,” Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levin said in a statement. “This Thanksgiving, choose to celebrate with the people in your household and virtually connect with your loved ones. If you plan to leave your home to celebrate the holiday, please follow the travel mitigation order, wear a mask and stay six feet apart from others. Weather-permitting, sit outside and enjoy the day.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Health also urged residents to “limit holiday celebrations to members of their immediate household or limiting the number of people present at celebrations and following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for a safer holiday.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for hosting holiday gatherings are available online.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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