Having a beer at a bar? Nah, fam. You’ll catch your death from the COVID.
Having a little meal with that beer at a bar? Much safer, apparently.
At least, that’s the logic from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf. His executive order to close Pennsylvania bars that don’t serve food is, indeed, a real head-scratcher.
To help visualize the order to better understand it, The Puff and Steph Podcast whipped together this meme:
Our Schuylkill County Dept. of Memes put out this guidance today, too. (TRIGGER WARNING: It shows Elmer Fudd with a gun.):
That order went into place at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, July 16. We don’t know when it’ll end.
In addition to bars closing, Wolf also ordered new restrictions on public gatherings, namely indoor gatherings, and now forces restaurants to operate at 25% capacity.
Are Pennsylvania Bars Really to Blame?
The decision, Wolf’s latest executive order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, is an attempt to flatten an “unsettling” rise in cases statewide, he said Wednesday afternoon.
Wolf and Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine say that bars, in particular, are becoming spreaders of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. They say state contact tracers identified these locations as responsible for at least some of the recent new cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. It shows just how smart this virus really is, if you think about it.
Now, the coronavirus is targeting businesses in which Wolf and Levine have direct oversight.
“We’re already at a tipping point where we really have to act,” Wolf said. “We don’t want to become the next Florida. We don’t want to become Texas. We don’t want to become Arizona.”
But at the same time, Wolf says something different about these businesses subject to his latest order. The governor said Wednesday that members of the state’s Liquor Control Enforcement agency have inspected thousands of facilities recently, looking for potential issues related to spreading the coronavirus.
And for the most part, Wolf says only a few warnings have been issued to business owners not following Wolf’s guidelines, such as lack of social distancing and no face masks.
“Most establishments have done the right thing,” Wolf said Wednesday.
So, if most establishments are doing the “right thing” in regard to masks and social distancing, why shut them down? Are Pennsylvanians really supposed to believe that a few bars somewhere in the state are causing this rise in case totals? If that’s true, why not just fine them or shut them down?
This move likely will do nothing to stop the alleged “unsettling” rise in COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania. The only thing it really does is put thousands of small businesses on the brink of closure.
As State Sen. Dave Argall put it on Wednesday night, it “could be the final stake in the heart” of many businesses in Pennsylvania and Schuylkill County.
Wolf moved bars and restaurants into the green phase of his pandemic response plan in Schuylkill County back on June 19. At the time of the order being handed down, Schuylkill County recorded just 36 new COVID-19 cases in the month of July.
- Pennsylvania Restaurants Going to 25% Occupancy, Bars Closing at Midnight
- Governor’s Actions Wednesday “Could Be the Final Stake in the Heart” for Some Small Businesses in Schuylkill County
- Wolf Closed Schuylkill County Bars Over 36 “New” Coronavirus Cases in July