Protesting Shelby County’s COVID-19 rules isn’t solving the problem…its ignoring the shared responsibility
The Shelby County Health Department announced new restrictions on dining establishments and gyms last week, to a chorus of “its not our fault” from the restaurant industry.
Dozens of people complained about the new restrictions at a County Commission meeting Monday, with some having the gall to protest the very protections themselves.
The restaurant industry “wants to see the data” so they can pick it apart and shift blame.
But no one is blaming restaurants or gyms.
As hard as it must be for these nascent narcissists to believe, its not about them.
We’re in a fucking crisis
According to data from the Shelby County Health department, there are just 30 ICU beds availiable in the County, and under 200 acute care beds.
Over the past several weeks, we’ve seen the number of new cases jump from an average of 100/day to over 400/day.
That means, we’re a half a day of ICU/Acute care patients away from max capacity.
Add to that, the reality that some of the hardest working people in the city, sanitation workers, are running at 75% right now because of the high number of infections.
On top of all that, those very same hospitals are running out of staff.
So let me get this straight:
- Hospitals are almost full
- Our garbage is in danger of not getting collected due to illnesses
- Hospitals can’t keep staff to treat all these people
What the fuck don’t you understand about this?
Here’s the reality: This shit is hurting everyone but Mitch McConnell.
Every single fucking kind of small business, nationwide, is getting repeatedly kicked in the balls daily because of COVID.
Restaurants, sure, they’re getting hurt.
But so are all kinds of other businesses, not to mention people.
So, I understand the desperation about new restrictions, but if you want the restrictions lifted, you have to be an EVANGELIST FOR PREVENTION!
Get the numbers down.
Be that asshole who tells folks they gotta put their mask back on no matter how fucking dumb it might seem.
Because you’re not going to get what you want by whining.
You want change? Takes action
There are basically three things businesses need to do if they want to see infection numbers decline, and restrictions lifted:
1. Be a partner for clarity
One of the biggest issues I see between business and the Health Department is both expect the other to do something that’s outside their comfort zone.
Businesses expect the Health Department to enforce rules, when it has little staff to act as police to every restaurant in the County all the time.
The Health Department wants businesses to enforce the rules, but has been wishy-washy on those rules due to political pressure.
This isn’t a time to compromise, its a time to collaborate.
Draw a line in the sand, together. Make an attainable goal. Then go the the various Mayors and say, “This is what we want, help us by supporting it”.
Then, you have the several Mayors, the restaurant industry, and the Health Department singing from the same hymnal.
The public will still be confused, because that’s all the public is good for, but by working together, everyone will know what to tell them.
2. Demand compliance
Small businesses aren’t used to being cops, but most of the time, a simple sign will stop people who aren’t complying at the door.
There are always some who think they don’t have to follow the rules…
Like this idiot:
Diana Crenshaw said that many of her family members were in the military, where they “fought for our freedom to be able to go about life, our normal life, not to be told to put something over our face.”
“We are not Muslim. It’s against my religion to put something over my face,” she said. “I can’t breathe in those things and I don’t feel it’s right for that to be mandated, and it’s not a law and we do not need to have this forced upon us, because we are not communists and I do not want to see communist America.”via The Commercial Appeal
If your business relies on people like this to stay afloat, you’ve crafted too narrow an audience. Spread your wings and rid yourself of dumbasses like this.
3. Better Numbers = More Business
Even though Health Department regs haven’t been as clear as they could be, some folks understand the real game.
“I’m cool with any restriction,” he said. “I’m of the mind that restrictions are not our problem, but the virus is. And I can prove that by saying that even at 50% capacity, we’re not full.”Kelly English – Daily Memphian
Just like my business, people won’t come back to gathering until they feel its safe.
By helping create a safer environment, we can help bring the numbers down, and increase confidence.
That’s the end game we all are pushing for.
Winter is going to be hard
There’s no question this winter is going to be hard…just like March and April was hard.
New data shows the kind of “social distancing” we thought was effective, may not be as effective as advertised.
Airborne spread happens more easily than we thought. That means, any kind of gathering outside your pod, puts you at a higher risk of infection.
Now some 9 months into this, we’re still learning about this virus and the ways it moves around.
That’s why beating up on the local government, who is doing the best they can with limited support from the State and Federal government, and limited resources, is not the answer.
If you’re really concerned about your business, no matter what kind of business, work with your local officials, and lobby state and federal officials both personally and through your trade groups.
Lobby them for direct aid to people (stimulus and enhanced unemployment), and low interest float loans for businesses.
Tell them to make that loan process targeted to small non-publicly traded corproations, partnerships, and sole-proprietorships.
Those are the businesses that need the most help, not Wal-Mart (who, to their credit, returned the funds).
Call Out Bad Actors
I haven’t been out to eat with my family since the absolutely disturbing and disgusting display of negligence I saw at Los Comales on Madison at the beginning of October.
As my wife posted on Facebook:
…It was so very crowded, we felt very uncomfortable. Frances pointed out that they did not even wash down the table next to us after one couple left and before another one sat down. You could still see the previous couples glass rings on the table. No sanitizing whatsoever.– Ellyn Daniel
Despite that being one of my favorite places in Midtown, I probably won’t be back.
As Kelly English said:
“…These people out there skirting the rules, I will never consider them colleagues again. Never.”Kelly English – Daily Memphian
Just work together
I think group projects are bullshit, but seriously, this is one we can all benefit from.
And that’s what its going to take to make things better.
As the chart I posted above shows, October 2nd, the night we went to Los Comales, the first Friday after restrictions were reduced, was the last low point of new infections.
So maybe its not happening in restaurants, but reducing restrictions on restaurants correlates with an increase in infections.
Hold each other accountable. Groups can act like a protection racket for their peers, but if you see someone acting a fool, its in your best interest to drop a dime on their asses.
Most of all small businesses, understand that nothing is ever going to make you happy until the world is back, as close to the way it was, as possible.
That’s hard to do, and I know a lot of you are either way down from last year, like my business, or barely hanging on.
And I’m sympathetic, because I’ve built businesses my whole adult life. Its hard, and emotional, and seeing it in danger breaks your heart and makes you angry at the same time.
But the Health Department isn’t your enemy. The virus, and the folks helping the virus due to their own stupidity or self-indulgence are your enemy.
Hold fire on the folks trying to make things better, and aim at those who, through stupidity, or short-term self-interest, are making things worse.
We’ll all be better off in the long run.