The San Mateo County GOP gathered signatures in San Carlos for a petition they submitted to the Board of Supervisors. Here’s the petition:
RESOLUTION DEMANDING SAN MATEO COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS LIFT COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS FOR ALL BUSINESSES THAT CAN FOLLOW GUIDELINES
Whereas the Health Officer of San Mateo County has issued a new Shelter-In-Place Order effective at 11:59pm on May 18, 2020 limiting the number of Additional Businesses and Additional Activities as defined in the Order to resume operating, subject to specified conditions and safety precautions to reduce the associated risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Whereas San Mateo County residents now know more about COVID-19 today versus March 16, 2020 when the Public Health Officers of the seven (7) San Francisco Bay Area Counties jointly issued the Shelter-In-Place order;
Whereas the Joint Shelter-In-Place mandate should not be based on a one size fits all approach for all counties and businesses;
Whereas San Mateo County residents have substantially complied with restrictions and flattened the curve;
Whereas San Mateo County has eased restrictions to align with current Statewide restrictions;
Whereas the estimated unemployment range of 65,000 to 80,000 in San Mateo County has a negative and severe economic impact to families and communities as well as individual health and well-being;
Whereas a substantial number of small business owners, who depend on daily revenue to sustain operations, have had to struggle and likely face the prospect of ceasing operations permanently. Officials issuing lockdown edicts have not considered the devastating long-term effects on the local economy;
Whereas we believe that businessowners and employees should not be denied their Constitutional rights to conduct free commerce and make an honest living and wages provided they abide by State health official guidelines;
Whereas San Mateo County business owners should not face unfair discrimination where certain businesses such as a convenient store is deemed safe versus a hair salon where services can be performed with the service provider taking the same safety precautions as a store worker who comes in close contact with a customer; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, that we demand that the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors respect the inalienable rights of San Mateo County residents, and advise the Health Officer to provide guidance on how to further lift these restrictions and allow more businesses to open up safely.
Here were the businesses which signed the petition1. Note a few of the businesses are not located in San Carlos.
|Mary Nobriga Skin Care
|Makalise Skin Care
|Stamp Bar & Grill
|The Kids Company
|The Reading Bug
|Dragon Palace Restaurant
The vice chair of the San Mateo County Republican Party called in to the May 26th Council meeting to put a frame around the petition, which had been emailed to the Council earlier.
I understand the tremendous impact the shelter-in-place orders have had on everyone, and every business, in San Carlos, the State of California and beyond. It’s a big part of the reason I’ve supported the philanthropic efforts the Council has approved and will continue to do so.
More importantly, every public official at the County level — where the specific health orders governing San Mateo County and San Carlos are drawn up — understands the situation as well. The steps they’ve taken, both to create the original rules and to loosen them as events unfold, try to strike a balance between putting the health of individuals at risk and the very real need to get life, including the local economy, moving again.
And there likely are risks to loosening the rules too quickly or too broadly. That’s because we still don’t know what proportion of the county population has been exposed to the virus.
Back in early March the proportion was known to be quite low (the virus had just appeared)…but it may not be much higher today. If it isn’t then re-opening always runs the risk of a serious second wave of infections, illness and death. In a very real sense it could be a simple “do over” of something we’d really rather not repeat.
Balancing the economy and public health/safety is a central part of what a community does through its government. It’s also fundamentally a judgment call given the uncertainties surrounding a new disease like Covid-19, so it’s to be expected there will be differences of opinion about what “side” of that balance is “best”.
So I asked the vice chair of the San Mateo County Republican Party what additional level of risk — of infection, illness and death — the Party considered reasonable under the circumstances.
The response was interesting: a strong reaction against even posing the question and a complaint about the health impacts of not reopening the economy sooner. There are, no question, health impacts of delaying re-opening. But those tend to be more “tomorrow’s problem” than coming down with Covid-19, which is a “today’s problem”. Sometimes your best course is to work on today’s problem and leave tomorrow’s problem to be dealt with tomorrow2.
I’m assuming the petitioners verified that the people who signed the petition were authorized to do so by the business they were representing. ↩
I also found it rather surprising that a Republican Party official would cite health risks given how the national Republican Party priority has been to gut or eliminate the improved health care coverage the Affordable Care Act provides, particularly for smaller businesses and small business employees. ↩