Andrew Cuomo cancels plan for Thanksgiving with mother, daughters
ALBANY – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo abruptly canceled his Thanksgiving plans Monday, less than two hours after revealing he planned to spend the holiday with his mother and two of his daughters.
During a radio interview Monday around 3:45 p.m., Cuomo revealed his "current plan" for the holiday: His 89-year-old mother, Matilda, and two of his three daughters, Michaela and Cara, are planning on joining him in Albany.
Cuomo's gathering would have complied with his own order limiting gatherings at private residences to no more than 10 people, a measure meant to stem the further spread of COVID-19 in New York.
But it would have gone against guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which suggest the "safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with."
Ultimately, it was no matter. By 5:30 p.m., Cuomo nixed the gathering entirely.
In a statement, Cuomo senior adviser Rich Azzopardi noted Cuomo said his plans were subject to change.
"(G)iven the current circumstances with COVID, he will have to work through Thanksgiving and will not be seeing them," Azzopardi said. "Don't tell his mom — she doesn't know yet."
Neither Cuomo's mother nor his daughters live with him full time, though his daughters have spent time with him at the Governor's Mansion on and off since the start of the pandemic in March.
"The current plan is my mom is going to come up and two of my girls, (that's) the current plan," Cuomo said on WAMC-FM, before he reversed course. "But the plans change, but that's my plan. But I'm going to work — I have a lot of work to do between now and Thanksgiving."
Cuomo predicts post-Thanksgiving uptick
In recent days, Cuomo, a Democrat, has predicted the upcoming holiday will lead to an uptick in COVID-19 cases in New York and nationally as people travel to visit with family and friends.
On a conference call with reporters Thursday, Cuomo warned against thinking of your home as a "safe zone" during the COVID-19 era, particularly if someone is visiting from out of state where the virus test positivity rates are higher.
"Your safe zone is dangerous this year," Cuomo said. "Please — love is sometimes doing what's hard. This year, if you love someone, it is smarter and better to stay away. As hard as that is to say and hear, because if I had to predict, you're going to see a significant spike post-Thanksgiving."
Cuomo has repeatedly referred to his daughters and mother, the state's former first lady, during his COVID-19 briefings, which garnered a national television audience and built a devoted following in March, April and May.
Earlier Monday, Cuomo detailed a recent talk he had with his third daughter, Mariah, who is in Chicago and tearfully informed him she wouldn't be coming home for Thanksgiving.
Last Wednesday, Cuomo relayed a conversation with his mother in which she suggested they get together for Thanksgiving with his brother, sisters and his family.
"No mom, we can't do that," Cuomo said. "I can't be with my sisters."
He continued: "It's counterintuitive. What I thought was the safest place and the safest situation — in my home at my table, with my family, it can't be any safer than that — that's a dangerous situation."
The CDC, meanwhile, issued its Thanksgiving guidance last week, advising people only to gather with people they live with this year.
"Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu," the guidance reads.
Note: This story has been updated with Cuomo abruptly canceling his Thanksgiving plans.
Jon Campbell is a New York state government reporter for the USA TODAY Network. He can be reached at JCAMPBELL1@Gannett.com or on Twitter at @JonCampbellGAN.
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