The Logic of Pandemic Regulations
By Bob Branco
June 24, 2020
Before I express my feelings about how inconsistent many of these regulations are, let me reassure you that I fully understand the importance of what’s going on. The Coronavirus is serious, and people must take the necessary precautions in order to protect themselves and others. With that said, governors are developing a reputation for being arrogant, hungry for power, and extremely controlling over our personal and professional lives. I think the reason is that when you take a look at the inconsistency of some of these rules, it’s almost as if governors are just throwing stuff out there to prove their authority.
During the first few weeks of the pandemic, several cities established night time curfews in order to keep people home. When you first heard about this, you likely thought to yourself, “That makes sense. If people are out and about, why not shut the city down during the night?” Well, okay. What about the daytime? So the city is open all day long, but closed all night long. I didn’t know that the Corona virus only bothers people at night. Did I miss something when the scientists described the virus at the beginning of this pandemic? Nevertheless, cities shut down during the night, but not during the day.
Here’s another dumb rule. When you go to the beach, you are not allowed to use public restrooms, but it’s perfectly okay to use a port-a-john. So, let’s see if I understand this correctly. There are 100 people at a beach who are not allowed to share a public restroom, yet they can all share a dirty port-a-john. I have heard numerous reports about how port-a-johns are not properly maintained, and that they stink up the neighborhood. Last time I checked, a public restroom is larger and more stationary. Port-a-johns, for some reason, are more unsanitary than we think.
Some of the healthiest people go to gyms. I assume that the more we exercise, the better off our immune systems will be. Yet, our Governor opened up marijuana shops and liquor stores, but not gyms.
Many restaurants are not allowed to sell ice cream because you need to scoop it up by hand with an ice cream scooper. At the same time, ice cream parlors are allowed to open. Can someone please tell me why ice cream cannot be sold in restaurants while it’s being served in other establishments? Does that make sense? If workers at ice cream parlors are not scooping the ice cream by hand, then tell the restaurants how it’s done.
Another rule that I question refers to outdoor dining versus indoor dining. Exactly what are the advantages of eating outside the restaurant as opposed to indoors? Besides, they put up a tent during outdoor dining. If you are inside the tent, don’t you get the same effect as if you were literally inside the restaurant? You are not really outside if you are in a tent, are you? Why is the tent safer than the restaurant? Yet the government calls it Outdoor Dining. In warm weather, bees, flies and mosquitoes infest the great outdoors. I’m sure you wouldn’t want an insect flying on top of your tuna sandwich.
Let’s go from restaurants to sports facilities. Football players will be allowed to report to their training camps in July. As you know, football is a contact sport. Therefore, the players are allowed to tackle one another on the field. However, lockers must be six feet apart in the dressing room. How inconsistent is that? I didn’t realize that the virus only hangs out in the dressing room, but not on the football field. How are you protecting football players from the virus if you only institute half-way measures? I am baffled.
The pandemic rules for baseball are just as confusing. The home plate umpire is supposed to stand six feet away from the nearest person on the field. Players must be seated six feet apart in the dug-out. Showers must be taken at home or any place else outside of the baseball stadium. However, the second baseman is allowed to tag a runner out on contact. Hello. If Major League Baseball cares so much about saving players, managers, coaches and umpires from the Coronavirus, then why not let the players tag runners out with a six-foot pole? That would be consistent. So, you are making an effort to protect your players and coaches when they are off the field, but to heck with your infielders on the field? The only way you are going to make pandemic regulations consistent with the broader scope of baseball is to come up with extraordinary measures on the field, such as the one I just mentioned about a six-foot pole. I have a blind man’s cane. Maybe that will come in handy during a defensive play in the infield.
Believe me, I am not laughing at the situation. I am merely pointing out how frustratingly inconsistent these pandemic regulations are, and inconsistency leads to being unreasonable. As a society, we recognize these inconsistencies, and perhaps that’s why a lot of people are not taking these rules seriously. They don’t understand why they can buy a television at Walmart, but not at a television store. Physical distancing rules can be applied in both stores if you really think about it. So why is one better than the other?
The other problem with pandemic regulations is not how important they are, but that there is not enough man power to enforce all of them. If 200 people are walking around without masks on, will the government send out the mask police to take the entire crowd to the police station? How will someone know for sure if I am not physically distancing from anyone else, even if I believe I am? Will they carry measuring devices around with them in order to measure between each pair of feet? I know this all sounds silly, but how else can I explain why none of these regulations can completely be reinforced?
In public school, I am so afraid that teachers will spend so much time making sure that pandemic regulations are enforced that they won’t have time to give children the proper education that they need. The teachers will be so preoccupied with whether Johnny is keeping his mask on his face, or if Judy is sitting too close to Suzy, or if too many kids are arriving in the classroom at one time.
I hope the day comes soon when the Coronavirus is completely gone, and we can put all this micromanaging behind us.