Here Come the New Lockdowns
Surging coronavirus cases, surging restrictions. Rising COVID-19 case counts around the country are spurring new rounds of virus-related restrictions on business hours, at-home social gatherings, and in-person schooling.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new orders go the furthest into hygiene theater, creating new limits on how many people can gather in private houses (10) and shutting down bars and other establishments that serve alcohol after 10 p.m. with little scientific evidence that such arbitrary limits will really help slow the spread. Even putting aside more philosophical concerns about dictating how many people can gather in private dwellings, the idea makes little practical sense, since there’s a big difference between 10 people crammed into a tiny studio apartment and spread out in a four-story brownstone. Its necessarily selective enforcement threatens to come down hardest on politically or culturally disfavored communities. (See, for instance, New York City’s obsessive focus on pandemic transgressions in large Orthodox Jewish communities.) Similarly, there’s little reason to expect alcohol-serving establishments to be less safe than restaurants that don’t serve alcohol. And giving New Yorkers fewer hours in which to congregate in semi-public spaces like bars and restaurants means more people packed into small indoor spaces at once, potentially exacerbating the virus’s spread.
Apropos of nothing (read: NYC closing bars, restaurants & gyms at 10 as if COVID is more infectious at night) going to re-drop this piece I wrote for @CNN about Cuomo’s ineptitude. It’s easy to look good when the bar is Trump but Cuomo’s response isnt good https://t.co/JLVwJ3L0ME
— Danielle Campoamor (@DCampoamor) November 11, 2020
New Jersey’s new restrictions—announced by Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday—have gotten less attention, but they follow the same illogic as Cuomo’s. Murphy also instituted a 10 p.m. indoor closing time for bars and restaurants and banned people from sitting at a bar.
Meanwhile, Rhode Island is “strongly advising” people to stay at home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. “It’s an advisory. I am strongly advising you and asking you to stay home in your own house,” Gov. Gina Raimondo said last Thursday.
In the Midwest, some states—such as Indiana and Illinois—are reinstituting restrictions in counties where recorded cases are high, and some areas are once again shutting down in-person schooling (or pausing reopening school plans). For instance: Earlier this week, the Cincinnati Public Schools board voted to entirely stop in-person learning again across the city school district; students return to online-only classes on November 23.
Other Midwestern states are extending emergency orders or putting new limitations on businesses and home-based gatherings statewide. In Minnesota, KSTP reports,
bars and restaurants are required to end dine-in services between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. Indoor capacity will also be capped at 150 people. Bar seating will also be closed, with the exception of establishments that only have bar seating.
In regards to gatherings, there is a 10-person limit for indoor and outdoor gatherings, and all social gatherings must be limited to members of three households or less.
For events like weddings and funerals, an instituted phased approach with be put in place. However, eventually, a 25-person cap will be put in place. Reception events may also not take place between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.
Iowa extended its
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