Coronavirus

Philadelphia Ordered Restaurants Closed. Then the City's Mayor Went Out To Eat in Maryland.

Public officials are routinely undermining the legitimacy of coronavirus countermeasures by ignoring their own (often arbitrary) rules.

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Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney publicly apologized on Monday after he was busted for sneaking across the border to enjoy a meal at a Maryland restaurant over the weekend.

Restaurants and bars in Maryland are allowed to offer limited indoor dining—capacity is capped at 25 percent of what would normally be allowed in an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Establishments elsewhere in Pennsylvania are operating under similar restrictions as well. But in Philadelphia, indoor dining is still fully forbidden under restrictions imposed by the city government—the one that Kenney runs. The city's ban on indoor dining, which was extended in late July amid fears of a "second wave" of COVID-19 cases in Philadelphia, is scheduled to be lifted on September 8.

But Kenney apparently couldn't wait that long. A sharp-eyed restaurant-goer caught Kenney dining indoors in Maryland on Sunday. The photo quickly went viral, and Kenney's office confirmed to a local TV station that the mayor had gone south of the border to visit "a restaurant owned by a friend."

On Monday, Kenney issued a more substantial apology via his Twitter account. "I felt the risk was low because the county I visited has had fewer than 800 COVID-19 cases, compared to over 33,000 cases in Philadelphia," he wrote. "Restaurant owners are among the hardest hit by the pandemic. I'm sorry if my decision hurt those who've worked to keep their businesses going under difficult circumstances."

Kenney is right to point out that the coronavirus risk is not the same everywhere at all times, and it certainly makes sense for different jurisdictions to adopt policies that reflect that. But his do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do approach to COVID-19 undermines the legitimacy of the harsh restrictions Philadelphia has imposed on its own restaurant industry and demonstrates a callous disregard for how those policies have impacted the city's residents and businesses. Kenney can drive across the border to Maryland easily, but a Philly bar can't pick up and move to Delaware to escape the city's lockdowns.

If nothing else, Philadelphia's ban on indoor dining certainly fails what I'd call the Burgermeister Meisterburger Yo-Yo Test—a reference, of course, to a memorable scene in the most libertarian Christmas movie ever made. The test is a simple one: If a public official can't avoid breaking his or her own laws—even, as in Kenney's case, the spirit of the law—then they're probably bad laws.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has created fertile ground for arbitrary and meaningless restrictions on economic activity. Worse, it's not clear that lockdowns have helped curb the spread of the virus. As Reason's Jacob Sullum noted last week, both Arizona and Georgia have seen COVID-19 cases decline by roughly the same degree in recent weeks despite adopting far different strategies in July—Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey ordered gyms, bars, movie theaters, and water parks to close and imposed strict limitations on restaurants, while Georgia mostly allowed people to decide for themselves whether it was safe to go out.

The pandemic has also created an opportunity for public officials to meddle in even sillier ways, like when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, told bars they couldn't serve alcohol without also selling food—and then tried to regulate what types of food actually counted as, well, food. He's also threatened to ban not only indoor dining but also outdoor dining in New York state, which would likely condemn thousands of restaurants to failure. There is no clear public health benefit to any of that.

Bars and restaurants were always going to have a hard time surviving the pandemic as more people voluntarily socially distanced and cut back on their spending in the wake of an economic downturn; public officials should avoid making the crisis worse with arbitrary rules. And if you can't resist playing with a yo-yo, maybe don't make it illegal for your constituents to do the same.

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  1. Did he have a soda pop with his meal?

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    2. He was in Maryland, so maybe. He couldn’t afford to have a soda in Philly.

      1. Drunky McMayor (his nickname in Philly) most certainly did not have soda pop with his meal; Drunky McMayor’s meal time drinks are measured by proof.

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      2. A hypocrite and a tax evader at the same time.

    3. What the hell is a soda pop?

      1. It’s what people in New York and Bawston call soda.

        1. In parts of the South they call it a “coke” even if it’s Pepsi.

          1. Does anybody call them “soft drinks” any more?

            1. Coledrink. They’re called coledrinks.

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            2. Western Canada they’re usually called “pop”.

            3. My mom called them soft drinks. My grandma called them pop.

              In my neck of the woods we just call them sodas.

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  2. Got a nice window seat too.

    1. I’m sure he managed to slip in a “do you know who I am?” to the hostess to ensure he got a good table.

    2. Well in retrospect, it might have been better for him to have worn a mask and sat in a dark corner

    3. Oh yeah, and Pelosi went to a hair salon in San Francisco. Without a mask. Hair salons are closed in San Francisco. Well, for normal people they are.

      1. Nasty Pelosi needs a lot more then a hair salon.

      2. And here’s the link for any Libs who would gripe about the lack of evidence.

        https://www.foxnews.com/politics/pelosi-san-francisco-hair-salon-owner-calls-it-slap-in-the-face

      3. I’m waiting for her Son in Law Governor Newsom have her fined for violating his state order.

  3. We are expected to obey arbitrary total economic control while wearing masks that hide our individual identities and thinking of each other as deadly disease risk cause we’re all so dumb.

    Obey the state without question and think of other individuals as an interchangeable, indistinguishable, amorphous blob of stupidity and threats.

    Welcome to Socialist Utopia.

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  5. Typical Eric; leave out the most significant fact.
    This lying weasel is a democrat.
    The party that wants to rule every aspect of our lives while having a free pass on anything they do. The party that want to destroy every individual freedom, and force all individual businessmen into an employee status, with strong nudging into union servitude.

  6. Ruling Class sucks.

  7. BREAKING NEWS: FILTHACRAPIA ELECTS A-HOLE AS MAYOR

  8. “I felt the risk was low because as a leftist politician, I am above the people’s laws the county I visited has had fewer than 800 COVID-19 cases, compared to over 33,000 cases in Philadelphia,

  9. I don’t see hypocrisy as undermining the credibility of lockdowns anywhere near as much as the facts–and let’s review the facts:

    1) The unemployment rates for July of 2020:

    The unemployment rate in New York is 15.9%
    The unemployment rate in California is 13.9%.

    They had mandatory lockdowns in both states.

    The unemployment rate for July of 2020 in Utah is 4.5%.

    They had no mandatory lockdown in Utah.

    2) Urbanization.

    New York has an urbanization rate of 87.9%
    California has an urbanization rate of 95.0%

    Utah has an urbanization rate of 90.6%.

    So, if we’re looking at Utah and think it has a lower infection rate because Utah’s population is more rural, that doesn’t really hold up. Utah is near the median between New York and California in terms of urbanization.

    3) Infection rates

    New York has had 1,799 cases per 100,000 people.
    California has had 1,780 cases per 100,000 people.

    Utah has had 1,670 cases per 100,000 people.

    That’s from the CDC

    https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases

    Despite not having any mandatory lockdown, Utah has fewer cases per 100,000 people than New York or California–both of which implemented mandatory lockdowns early, made them harsh, and made them last for a long time.

    So what did New York’s and California’s mandatory lockdowns get them other than an unemployment rate that’s about three times the size of Utah’s?

    The hypocrisy of politicians is the last reason to oppose mandatory lockdowns. The assumption that sacrificing the economy is worth it if it means keeping the infection rate down doesn’t appear to have any factual basis. Even if the mayor of Philadelphia weren’t a hypocrite, the numbers speak against locking the economy down.

    1. Urbanization rates:

      https://www.icip.iastate.edu/tables/population/urban-pct-states

      Somebody please show me where I’m wrong.

    2. They had no mandatory lockdown in Utah.

      I don’t believe this is accurate. They shut down all the schools and closed all indoor restaurants. The Mormon church (half the state) closed all their services and their buildings for ANY use.

      1. Doing some hunting, it appears that there was no state wide mandatory lock down in Utah.

        Utah appears to have allowed their counties to put lockdowns in place, and some of them chose to do so. According to this website, Salt Lake County (which comprises the Salt Lake City metropolitan area) had a mandatory lockdown between March 30 and April 13–for two weeks.

        https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/here-are-stay-home-orders-across-country-n1168736

        That is nothing compared to what they did in California and New York. I maintain that the primary cause of the difference in huge rates of unemployment remains the severity and length of the lockdowns–and that the lack of a significant difference in their infection rates is despite the lockdowns.

        If schools, churches, and restaurants electively chose to close themselves in Utah, that’s hardly an argument against lockdowns. The fact that people are free to close themselves down regardless of whether the government forces them to close is an argument against lockdowns.

        1. Typo in that last part:

          “If schools, churches, and restaurants electively chose to close themselves in Utah, that’s hardly an argument against [for] lockdowns. The fact that people are free to close themselves down regardless of whether the government forces them to close is an argument against lockdowns.

          —-Ken Shultz

          Fixed!

          The point is that schools, churches, and restaurants would have been free to close themselves in New York and California without a statewide mandatory lockdown, too. Plenty of restaurants might well have willingly kept themselves closed due to the lack of customers. I’m not saying that the unemployment rate wouldn’t have gone up at all if it hadn’t been for the mandatory statewide lockdowns in New York and California. I’m saying that the unemployment rate is worse than it would have been otherwise if it weren’t for the statewide lockdowns.

          P.S. Seeing progressives fault President Trump for refusing to implement mandatory lockdowns nationwide is absurd given these statistics. New York and California have some of the worst unemployment rates in the country right now. Why would we be better off if the unemployment rate were as high as New York’s and California’s nationally? This is just New York and California progressives imagining that the rest of the country wants to be like them–for some strange reason that has a lot to do with their own delusions and little to do with reality.

          1. “…Seeing progressives fault President Trump for refusing to implement mandatory lockdowns nationwide is absurd given these statistics. New York and California have some of the worst unemployment rates in the country right now…”

            Further, Idaho is NOT CA or NY;

    3. “Utah is near the median between New York and California in terms of urbanization.”

      Someone who uses “median” with two figures is probably trying to look smarter than the average statistician.

      1. It’s near the middle between the two states!

        Is that your only objection?

      2. You can tell the number is accurate because it has multiple decimal places!

        1. I hope the point is getting across that Utah is roughly comparable in terms of its urbanization rate–regardless of whether I used the word “median”.

          1. I hope the point is getting across that some words are wrong, pointing them out is not wrong, and having a good laugh is important.

            Perhaps I should have said that people who mistakenly use “median” when they mean “average”, especially when there are only two samples and “median” is meaningless, tend to take themselves too seriously and need to develop a sense of humor.

            1. Actually, we’re not talking a discrete function here, are we? This isn’t a deck of cards where there are no numbers between ten and a Jack. This isn’t a dice roll where there are no numbers between two and three. Percentages are continuous within their bounds–like length, weight, and time. A statistician would insist on integration. Just because we round them does that mean there aren’t an infinite number of percentages between . . ?

              Anyway, the lower bound is New York’s 87.9% and the upper bound is California’s 95.0%. The median is 91.5%–and Utah is near that at 90.6%. Medians don’t stop being medians in a continuous function because they have one lower and one upper bound. Aren’t we bound by the percentages rather than the number of states? Regardless, there are 47 states we haven’t mentioned, and, by my eye, there are seven or eight states that also land in that range between New York and California in terms of their urbanization percentages.

              The point was that Utah shouldn’t be excluded as an apple because of its urbanization rate. It’s well within the apple range.

              In terms of having a sense of humor, I’m fucking hilarious and women find me irresistible.

              1. No. “Median” refers to the middle of a list. It’s one of the numbers in the list.

                1. Thank you.

                2. “No. “Median” refers to the middle of a list. It’s one of the numbers in the list.”

                  The middle of the list yes, but it might not be one of the numbers if there’s an even number of numbers. In that case, it’s the average of the two numbers in the middle. And the numbers must be in sequence (whether ascending or descending).

                  But I agree that these are minor points, we should rather be concentrating on infection rates and unemployment rates.

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    4. Check South Dakota too.

      1. South Dakota did the smart thing, too, but they have a much lower urbanization rate (56.7%), and I wanted to make sure we were comparing apples to apples.

        I’m not talking about the unemployment rates in Florida, Nevada, and Hawaii, too, because their economies are so heavily dependent on tourism and they would have taken a big hit because of the lack of demand due to the virus–regardless of whether they instituted mandatory lockdowns statewide.

    5. Good post.

    6. I think it would be better to compare California to Texas. Large ports. Texas did shut down, but we opened up early.

      Finally, the two have almost identical trends of infection. Low initial rates, and then an inflection point on the same week to a peak, and then slowly drifting down from there.

    7. This just in: a virus that originates oversea’s might take a while to penetrate interior land-locked area’s that no one visits voluntarily, such as Utah.

      1. So you think they should have implemented polices that would have tripled their unemployment rate?

        1. No, saying that hanging your hat on anything to explain infection rates is probably a fools errand. Geographic isolation is just as likely as anything else, or simply one of a dozen variables. Not saying that Utah is super remote, people go there all the time. But I don’t know how many people can get a direct flight from Utah to Wuhan Province, either.

  10. Pitchforks and torches. Run them all out of town, every single elected official.

    1. Take all the politicians, drop them on an island, and let them build their utopia of regulations.

      They’ll all starve to death before the Life Sustaining Nourishment Acquisition bill makes it out of committee.

      1. Isn’t that how Australia got started? Oh wait, that was thieves and murderers. Sorry to insult the thieves and murderers out there.

        1. I don’t understand the difference.

          1. Some thieves and murderers have principles.

  11. Christ, what an asshole.

    1. But some assholes are more equal than other assholes.

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  13. Back when I was a kid I thought the Rule of Law was a universal constant. There was a law, everyone obeyed it, and if they didn’t there would be hell to play. Even if they were politicians. Even if they were Nixon. Because the idea of arbitrary rule just wouldn’t fit into my naive young brain.

    Today however I don’t have to wonder, everywhere I look, on both the Left and Right, it’s all arbitrary rule. And usually capricious. There’s no such thing as Rule of Law in this country any more.

    1. That’s mostly just called growing up. Kids have a black and white view of the world. Good people vs bad people. As they get older they start realizing there are shades of grey. This person is mostly good but they also do some bad things, and this person is mostly bad but they also do some good things. It can give you the false impression that people were more likely to follow the rules than they really were, because as a kid you had trouble conceptualizing the world as any different.

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  15. On Monday, Kenney issued a more substantial apology via his Twitter account. “I felt the risk was low because the county I visited has had fewer than 800 COVID-19 cases, compared to over 33,000 cases in Philadelphia,” he wrote. “Restaurant owners are among the hardest hit by the pandemic. I’m sorry if my decision hurt those who’ve worked to keep their businesses going under difficult circumstances.”

    Not an apology.

    1. Right, it’s more an explanation, of how- believe it or not- individuals can rationally assess a situation and make their own choices and choose their own level of risk. Amazing! Too bad the good mayor doesn’t think that his constituents have the capability of making the same assessments, so he needs to make the decisions for them.

      Much like Fauci when he was at the Nationals game with his wife and friend with his mask off. He gave a whole explanation about how in those circumstances it was fine and the risk was minimal and etc. All of which was completely logical and correct to anyone with a bit of intelligence- no reasonable person argued that this was evidence that covid didn’t even exist and Fauci knew it was completely made up and wasn’t really concerned at all about it in any scenario. Rather, it was plain to see that he was acting reasonably for the situation. But that’s the whole point- Fauci and the politicians that follow him do not think that everyone ELSE should get to act as they see fit based on their assessment of risk and personal risk tolerance; THOSE people need to live under blanket rules because they are too stupid to know what’s good for them. It’s only the enlightened betters like Fauci that get to decide what is appropriate for a given circumstance.

    2. So this champion of dempanic hysteria saw nothing amiss in exhaling with his mask off during a visit to a place with a far lower per-capita rate of infection than the city where he (presumably) spends most of his time. No elevated risk of spreading the coof there. With such a beacon of Brotherly Love to enlighten it, no wonder Philadelphia is always sunny.

  16. They push lockdowns not for public health, but cynical and hypocritical politics. The goal is to wreck the economy so people are desperate and vote for Biden. And if you say that they respond with relentless vitriolic fury. However this exposes a source of the morbidity of the virus: these people despise conservatives, religious people and Trump supporters and so would likely be careless in their presence. Perhaps they scheduled a family reunion despite a mild case of the sniffles. Perhaps they had a long intimate chat with gramps in his bedroom. But now the mortality is going down because the elderly & obese see the hatred and contempt (despite the veneer of compassion) and know to scatter when their liberal acquaintances approach.

    I hope research is done on this dynamic. Just look at political affiliations of the dead and the people who spent the most time with them.

  17. America is a great county, any hard working, honest man can find employment. And those who aren’t can go in to politics.

  18. This is very similar to the current anger being exhibited in Kansas City at a school board member at one of the largest suburban districts. She sent her son to Florida in order to be eligible to play football this season, then voted to shut down the local HS football program for everyone else. She makes one choice for her kids, and then makes another choice for everyone else’s kid in the entire district.
    https://www.pressreader.com/usa/the-kansas-city-star/20200831/281629602660461

    1. Those with authority will inevitably abuse it.

      I believe we can all just accept that as given.

      1. It’s the only thing more certain than gravity.

    2. And new Big 10 (err, B1G) commissioner Kevin Warren- an open leftist who has made it a point to leverage the conference and it’s athletes to drive “social change” through voting. Keep in mind that this is a conference with a strong presence in many of the most important swing states. The Big 10 voted to cancel the season, of course, and while the decision was ostensibly up to the university presidents, the belief is that Warren strongly encouraged this outcome. However, Warren’s son plays for Mississippi State in the SEC and will be playing this season…

      1. Now they say they plan to play after Thanksgiving or January.

        If that’s not screaming politics I don’t know what does.

        He’s another asshole. I should write a book about public officials who revealed themselves to be shitheaded fuckheads during the pandemic.

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    1. In Brampton Ont., the Mayor shut down sports to just practices or some bull shit but he and his buddies get to play hockey.

      Patrick Brown. Look him up.

      And what does the little shit do when caught? The same old usual tired bull shit: Right wingers are a menace.

      My brother in laws nephew has to DRESS UP IN THE PARKING LOT to play in Ottawa.

      This is how retarded it has become.

      1. You keep taking it, they’ll keep doing it. It’s past time for some good old fashioned hangings.

        1. We haven’t used the tar and feathers in a while, and it shows.

  21. Of course. Naturally. Politicians are acting like typical shitheads during the pandemic.

    Same crap up here in Canada.

    The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the society. Tacitus.

  22. Even worse than Kenney’s case was that of the UK’s Neil Ferguson, who prescribed quarantining for people infected with Coronavirus.
    Except for himself, of course. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-52553229

  23. today we learn that politicians are blowhard hypocrits…we are shocked…SHOCKED!

    EVERY GOVERNOR THAT HAS SHUT DOWN A STATE NEEDS TO BE TURNED OUT. the arrogant assholes are still cashing checks as they decimate families, corrupt psyches and pander and fear monger. americans are chumps to fall for the BS

  24. Public health experts already wrote that there are more important priorities.

    However, as public health advocates, we do not condemn these gatherings as risky for COVID-19 transmission. We support them as vital to the national public health and to the threatened health specifically of Black people in the United States. We can show that support by facilitating safest protesting practices without detracting from demonstrators’ ability to gather and demand change. This should not be confused with a permissive stance on all gatherings, particularly protests against stay-home orders. Those actions not only oppose public health interventions, but are also rooted in white nationalism and run contrary to respect for Black lives. Protests against systemic racism, which fosters the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 on Black communities and also perpetuates police violence, must be supported.

    – 1200 public health experts

    http://ethicsalarms.com/2020/06/08/oh-no-its-monday-ethics-review-6-8-2020-a-yoos-rationalization-orgy/

  25. “I felt the risk was low because the county I visited has had fewer than 800 COVID-19 cases, compared to over 33,000 cases in Philadelphia,” he wrote after carrying any communicable diseases that he might have picked up in Philadelphia across state lines.

    FTFY.

  26. Emperor Newsom shut down salons, and then that hag Pelosi got her hair done.

  27. Liberals have still not realized their blatant hypocrisy is another of the many reasons Trump won last time!

  28. When the ruling class liberals tell you peasants what to do, you’ll do it and like it. Now get back to work, his limousine driver doesn’t work for free.

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