I am a big fan of public transportation, particularly subway and trolley transits. No argument from me: During the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—better known as COVID-19—pandemic, public transportation is a necessary service that gets people without cars to the grocery store, pharmacy, or, if essential workers, to their jobs.
Something bothers me: If San Diegans are safe enough riding in an enclosed bus for, say, 20 to 40 minutes, why does California Governor Gavin “Gruesome” Newsom consider open-air dining to be risker and, therefore, is prohibited? I surely would worry much more about being inside a bus for any length of time, where riders feeling asphyxiated—particularly older folks who are more likely to be on board and are high-risk to catch COVID-19—pull down masks below their noses and even their mouths. Can you say super-spreader event? Because I surely can.
Outdoor dining in breezy San Diego benefits from natural airflow and force of peer pressure—condemning eyes from fellow patrons should you keep off the mask too long or spend too much time sitting with your meal. Each outdoor venue has a built-in ejection seat, so to speak. You stay as long as you can feel comfortable before going up and out.
Local restaurants cannot survive on take-out and delivery—and many, at the behest of SD County, spent thousands to tens of thousands of dollars on outdoor serving areas that cannot be used because of Newsom’s newest lockdown order. For those places, how can the moratorium on serving sitting patrons food be nothing less than pure punishment? Same goes for their employees and all the up- and down-stream businesses the eateries support—like wholesale and locally-grown food sellers, wide variety of restaurant sundry suppliers, or beverage bottlers of many kinds. People with jobs don’t collect unemployment; they and their employers pay taxes to the city, county, and/or state. Those revenues are essential, too.
Someone convince me that outdoor dining is risky enough to demand prohibition but enclosed public transports like bus or trolley are safe—or safe enough, and that means more than sitting outside munching your meat-substitute burger and vegan smoothy.