Santa Monica Releases Oddly Specific List of Business Openings, Keeps Palisades Park and the Pier Closed
Following the example of the state and county, Santa Monica is allowing certain types of businesses to reopen today in a limited fashion. The city began closing businesses during the third week of March, ending with a complete shutdown of all but "essential" businesses March 19. Ever since, restaurants, retail outlets, and business offices have all been off-limits.
But today, our wiser and more knowledgeable overlords are allowing certain, very select businesses to open their doors , albeit for curbside pickup only. However, Palisades Park and the Santa Monica Pier remain closed, with an 8-foot high fence assuring compliance.
Santa Monica is allowing the following types of businesses to operate, with the caveat of "adhering to physical distancing, face coverings, and infection control protocols:"
-Toy stores -Music stores -Book stores -Clothing stores
-Sporting goods stores -Florist shops -Car dealership showrooms
The rationale for the specificity of the list escapes us. Why a clothing store but not a jewelry store? What about needlepoint? Or any number or retail outlets that could just as easily engage in curbside business? Why not simply allow ALL retail outlets to deliver goods to people driving up in their cars?
And is there a single book store in Santa Monica?
We also don't understand why a car dealership showroom - which is indoors - is an okay place for people to congregate but not the outdoor space of the 1.5-mile long Palisades Park.
Government officials at all levels, national, state, and local, have been playing a dangerous game in their imposition of orders that limit, restrict, and forbid activities and territories that are normally free and open. When the public understands and believes there might be good reasons for the restrictions, such as prevention of infection from a potentially deadly disease, they are willing to abide. But when rules become arbitrary, incomprehensible, or unnecessarily restrictive, then the public will be angered. And justifiably so. Under normal circumstances, all of these restrictions violate the most fundamental and sacred of America's rights.
Protests against the length and severity of restrictions have been launched all over the country, in "red" areas as well as the bluest of blue. These protests are not dying out of apathy but are growing and gaining additional adherents as the agony of the lockdown stretches into territory that makes no logical sense. The hospitals have been prepared for COVID-19 patients, with ICU beds and ventilators and staff. That was the reason for the lockdown in the first place, to ramp up capacity. The reason was not to prevent infections and death but to slow down the rate. Barring the emergence of some miracle cure in the immediate future, something that is not going to happen, the exact same number of people are going to become infected no matter what we do.
All we're accomplishing with the current stage of the lockdown is putting people out of work, creating poverty, and germinating a seed of growing fury.
We requested information from the city's media representative regarding the rationale for the specific businesses permitted to open and the continued closure of Palisades Park. So far, we have not heard back.
They had better have an answer for the public. And it had better be a good one.