November 10, 2020
SCIENCE AND DATA ALERT!
Coronavirus is a vampire?
So here in New Jersey, our great and benevolent leader Governor Phil Murphy has come up with yet another incantation to rid us of the dreaded coronavirus. It appears it has been discovered that the novel virus not only causes COVID-19 but is also either a vampire or has vampire-like qualities. As such, the Wonderful Wizard of Trenton has decreed that beginning November 12th, all restaurants cease indoor dining activities between the hours of 10 pm and 5 am (everyone know vampires come out at night). This of course means theses establishments can operate “normally” (indoor dining restricted to 25% capacity) from 5 am to 10 pm, a total of 17 hours out of a possible 24 hours in a day. I would be greatly interested to know what SCIENCE AND DATA was consulted (as the Governor tells us he always does) to come up with these time restrictions. Is it the particular number of hours or the timing of the restrictions that will vanquish our foe? Seems to me that midnight (everyone knows that’s the “witching hour”) would have been a more literarily appropriate time to engage in battle with the boogeyman, but perhaps the good Governor is too busy filling out his Mensa application to concern himself with such trivialities. While my allusion to vampires is of course silly (or is it?), I am sincere in my query as to these timing determinations but alas, no explanation was given (as apparently none was asked for; yay media!) and I guess we are just supposed to accept the very brave and also intelligent attempts by our illustrious leader as he does battle in an attempt to save us not only from the virus but also from ourselves (you’re apparently too stupid to know when you should eat or drink in a social atmosphere). This mystical spell follows what has become a fairly consistent pattern of what must be strategies so ingenious and complex that common folk just could not possibly grasp the intricacies and scientifications (made-up word) of the whys and hows of their genesis – so don’t bother asking, you couldn’t possibly understand anyway. For those who missed my post when our really courageous and also caring Governor allowed the gyms to reopen, he at that time implored the “water-filled hole in the floor” spell to ward off the virus thus allowing people to use the otherwise-closed showers and locker rooms if there was a pool on the premises (SCIENCE!). It seems the virus is so contagious and so dangerous that you could not use the shower or change your shirt in the locker room, but the presence of a pool thwarted the evildoer. Wow, pulled that one out of his little magic hat. This of course followed up on the “you MUST wear a mask…unless you can’t” enchantment whereby you are commanded to wear a mask unless you have some medical condition that would preclude you from doing so. In this case your asthma or claustrophobia somehow doesn’t make you the same selfish, science-denying, grandma killer as those who just don’t want to wear a mask because, well, they’re selfish, science-denying grandma killers. Not really sure how an “excuse” valid though it may be, negates the apocalyptic power of the virus, but apparently it does. I don’t know; guess it’s above my pay grade.
But wait, there’s more. Restaurants are required to limit tables to eight people (eight is evidently a magic number; not six, not ten, but eight), require customers who wish to enter the indoor portion of the establishment to wear a face covering, unless the customer has a medical reason for not doing so (not sure we’re clear on the implications of what “require” means), require customers to provide a phone number if making a reservation to facilitate contact tracing (no requirement noted for phone number if I just walk in off the street – MAGIC!, I mean SCIENCE!), and cordon off any indoor or outdoor dance floors to the public (but my guess is that if there is a swimming pool on the premises, or perhaps just a large enough bucket of water present, then the dance floor would be open). How bout these gems: As of November 12th, tables can be closer than the previously required six-foot radius but only if they are separated by dividing barriers. Not sure what magic is going on there, but apparently a particle 1/1000th the size of a human hair cannot find its way around a piece of plastic. Also, for food or beverage establishments with table service, they are required that customers be seated in order to place orders and they must require customers to only consume food or beverages while seated (I guess if I speak or chew while standing, I can defeat the aforementioned magic barriers). Also, in a blow to all you barflies, bar side seating will now be completely prohibited. This of course is a change to the rule that said bar seating may be utilized if customers are seated and comply with physical distancing guideline of at least 6 ft between customers (how smooth do your moves have to be to pick up that lovely lady or hunky gent from six feet away?). Standing in a bar area was not permitted. So I guess if you’re a hemorrhoid sufferer who had a hankering for a beer, you were out of luck already. And a general rule for all employers when it comes to requiring employees to wear masks says that in the event an employee claims he cannot wear a mask due to health reasons, an employer may require the employee to produce medical documentation supporting claims that they are unable to wear a face mask because of a disability. Not sure, but that may infringe on one’s civil rights to privacy under HIPAA regulations. But what the hell, civil rights went out of vogue some time ago. And why can a customer walk in sans mask and claim a contravening medical condition without being required to provide proof but an employee can be required to show said proof? Come on man, we need to get serious about how serious we need to get to survive this pandemic. The rules must apply to everyone, or they mean nothing! (shout out James T. Kirk)
Let me once again be clear that I am not telling you not to wear a mask or to not follow any of these silly rules. If it makes you feel safer or that you’re doing something for your fellow man (even though all the actual SCIENCE AND DATA support neither of those positions) then you do you. But for the love of all that’s holy I’m asking that we start to dig our rational brain out from under the pile of detritus that is our fear-based brain and think about what we are doing. By the way, if you look at the SCIENCE AND DATA here in the Garden State, “cases” (have I mentioned positive infection tests are not cases) are indeed going up – which is completely NORMAL for this time of year, but deaths have not followed suit in a commensurate fashion. Will some people get sick? Yes. Will some people die? Yes. These realities are both true and tragic, but blindly following theses just-plain-stupid policies based on nothing in the hope that we will somehow survive the end of the world is insane. Doing “something” is not necessarily better than doing nothing.