This weekend Governor Tom Wolf ordered the closure of restaurants and bars in all of Philly’s surrounding PA suburbs– a wise and necessary move in the face of a global pandemic that will be amplified by idiots going to bars and bro-hugging each other to (their Nonna’s) death.
Curiously absent was Philly itself.
At that moment, we learned who was on top:
What’s the hold up? Well, Mayor Kenney explained on Saturday:
“I would recommend you wash your hands, you stay out from within three feet of people, and go out and have dinner — and tip your waitstaff because they’re struggling right now,” Kenney said at a news conference Saturday. “We have to figure out a way that we can continue moving forward without panicking to the point that everything shuts down. We may be healthier but the economy will be in the tank, and we can’t have that.”
Kenney later clarified that comment, emphasizing the importance of social distancing while in public spaces. But many Philadelphia bars and restaurants were crowded Saturday night, a potentially critical moment in the local spread of the virus.
No doubt that closing bars, restaurants and small businesses inflicts a world of pain on citizens and the economy. But if it’s not done now, it will happen eventually anyway. And the alternative will not only hurt workers, but it will also make many of them sick. This is where the federal government needs to step in and make whole hourly and part-time workers, and small business owners impacted by any of this. There are two options, both bad, but only one right decision.
I’ll try to be succinct and without hyperbole here: If Mayor Kenney doesn’t shut down restaurants and bars and keeps this stance up, he is going to kill thousands of people.
And yes, there is a Change.org petition for this.