Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) said Monday that the state Department of Health has granted Santa Claus a rare waiver allowing him to skip a 14-day quarantine in the state but clarified that Kris Kringle would have to still wear a mask.
At the end of his prepared statements at a midday press briefing regarding COVID-19 updates and the vaccines, but before questions from the press, Cuomo adopted a serious tone when discussing an “unusual request” from someone to skip quarantine.
“We had a request for a waiver of quarantine. We normally do not do waivers of quarantine,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that we’re in this situation, but people from other states that have a higher infection rate, or what we’re dealing with the U.K. now… as I said, no state is an island, so you have to protect yourself and that’s what the quarantine rules did,” Cuomo added, referencing the new strain of the coronavirus that has spiked in the United Kingdom recently, causing multiple European countries to halt travel with the island nation this weekend.
“But, we have an unusual request,” he said, then pausing for a beat. “But the DOH has been considering it for the past few days and they have actually granted the request.”
“Santa Claus asked from an exemption [from] the 14-day quarantine requirement,” Cuomo revealed, then chuckling, “because it would be impracticable for him to be in this state and then quarantine and still get all his gifts delivered on time.”
Father Christmas, however, must wear a mask when delivering gifts.
“The DOH was flexible,” he continued. “They have granted the quarantine waiver. But—Santa is required to wear a mask this year.”
Despite the jolly, bearded fellow wearing a mask, Cuomo thinks he will remain easily recognizable, joking about Santa’s appearance.
“I think you will still be able to recognize him, even though he’ll be wearing a mask,” the governor said, pointing out that Santa “does have a fairly distinct outfit that he wears, plus his body style is fairly distinct.”
“So I don’t think there’ll be any issue in identifying Santa this year,” he emphasized. “He’ll be able to do his job, but do it safely because he’ll be wearing a mask.”
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Rep. Patrick McHenry Announces Retirement, Adding to Congressional Exodus
Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., has declared that he will not seek re-election, becoming the latest in a growing list of lawmakers departing from Congress. McHenry, a close ally of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, stated that he believes “there is a season for everything,” signaling the end of his tenure in the House. Having served since 2005, McHenry is the 37th member of Congress to announce they won’t seek re-election in 2024.
In a statement, McHenry reflected on the significance of the House of Representatives in the American political landscape, calling it the “center of our American republic.” He acknowledged the concerns about the future of the institution due to multiple departures but expressed confidence that new leaders would emerge and guide the House through its next phase.
The departure of McHenry and others comes against the backdrop of political shifts and challenges within the Republican Party. The GOP has faced setbacks in recent elections, including fallout from the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Internal strife and disagreements, exemplified by the rebellion against McCarthy, have characterized the party’s dynamics. The GOP’s approval rating stands at 30%, with a disapproval rating of 66%, reflecting the challenges and divisions within the party.
As McHenry steps aside, questions loom over the fate of open seats in the upcoming election. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report identifies five open House seats as potential Democrat pickup opportunities, while none are listed for the GOP. The departures raise concerns about the party’s unity and ability to navigate the evolving political landscape.
With a total of 20 departing Democratic legislators and 10 Republicans, the changing composition of Congress adds complexity to the political dynamics leading up to the 2024 elections. As McHenry emphasizes a hopeful view of the House’s future, the evolving political landscape will determine the impact of these departures on the balance of power in Congress.
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