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As the news media continues to whip people into frenzied masses and force governments into imposing irrational responses to the COVID-19 panic, here are some of the more extreme examples of how American liberties are being chipped away all in the name of promoting “safety.”
For the week of May 3 to May 9, 2020: (click on headlines for full story)
In the policy issued by Mayor Quinton Lucas (D), ordered “in-person religious gatherings (including weddings and funerals) may resume, subject to the 10/10/10 rule (if held inside) or limited to 50 people outside, provided social distancing precautions are followed and event organizers maintain records of all attendees.” The 10/10/10 rule is based on 10 people or 10 percent of the allowable number prescribed in the fire code, but only for those who remain in the building for longer than 10 minutes.
The new rule requires all churches to “record the names, contact information, and approximate entry/exit time of all customers who are on premises for more than 10 minutes.” That includes churches, synagogues, and mosques along with businesses. Of course, medical facilities and grocery stores are exempt.
Shelley Luther, a Dallas beauty salon owner will spend a week in jail after she was found in contempt of court Tuesday by District Judge Eric Moyé (D) for violating an order to close her salon during the coronavirus panic. In addition, Shelley Luther was fined $7,000 for continuing to operate her business, Salon à la Mode, in violation of a judge’s temporary restraining order issued against the business. Luther was taken into custody immediately after the hearing and booked into the Dallas County jail just after 4:30 p.m.
A day later, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (R) offered to pay the fine and serve Luther’s sentence on her behalf. On Twitter, he said, “Seven days in jail, no bail and a $7K fine is outrageous. No surprise Texans are responding. I’m covering the $7K fine she had to pay and I volunteer to be placed under House Arrest so she can go to work and feed her kids.”
Most self-employed individuals do not qualify for any type of financial assistance in light of government-imposed lockdowns of their small businesses, especially those without employees. Nor do all small businesses get to take part in the federal Payday Protection Loans. But, that didn’t stop Clinton-appointee U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman from ordering that the Small Business Administration rewrite the rules to allow strip clubs to have access to federal financial relief. She rendered her decision on the grounds that restricting emergency funds to firms specializing in live sexual performances violated the company’s rights to free speech.
Local officials in Cambridge, Somerville and Lawrence announced the new order this week requiring residents and visitors, except anyone under the age of two, to cover their faces in public as the coronavirus panic continues. Those caught violating the ordinance will be required to pay a fine of $300. “Not everyone who has COVID-19 shows symptoms. You can be carrying the virus and infecting others without knowing,” said Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone (D).
The Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles is temporarily waiving the road test requirement for new drivers in due to the COVID-19 panic, the agency announced Tuesday. Those who have completed other training and education requirements will no longer have to participate in the time-honored road test. “Due to the requirements of obtaining a license, we are confident this provision will not compromise safety,” said Department of Transportation Secretary Scott Thompson said. If that’s the case, why is the state only “temporarily” waving the requirement? Why not make it permanent, especially after ensuring residents that 98 percent of drivers under 18 passed their road test on their first or second attempt in Wisconsin?
A Texas sheriff sent his department’s SWAT team with guns drawn to break up a rally in support of a bar owner who reopened her business in violation of Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) coronavirus lockdown on Monday. “This was not a protest of their Second Amendment rights. It was a show of force to ensure that this lady could violate the governor’s order,” said Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis.
In an email obtained by KTVU-TV, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott told his officers Friday he considered the blue flag and stripe “a meaningful expression to honor fallen officers.” However, he worried that some may perceive the symbol as “divisive and disrespectful.” The police union ordered and distributed the masks emblazoned with black-and-white American flag with a blue stripe across the middle. The symbol is associated with the Blue Lives Matter movement, a display of unity among police officers in response to the national Black Lives Matter movement.
Edward Augustus (D), the city manager of Worcester, Mass., said Sunday that the city would fine Pastor Kristopher Casey $300 after he held church services two Sundays in a row for more than 10 participants. Forty-six people attended Sunday’s service, and 56 people attended the April 26 service. Worcester’s Police Chief Steven M. Sargent was across the street from the church Sunday, counting the number of people who entered the building. Another violation could incur a $500 fine and criminal charges against Casey.
Health care heroes who came from around the country to help fight the coronavirus outbreak in New York will still have to pay state income taxes, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). The taxes would also affect Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian aid organization that set up a temporary hospital in Central Park. “We’re not in a position to provide any subsidies right now because we have a $13 billion deficit,” Cuomo said.
“That iconic music screams summer, and we all scream for ice cream, but during the pandemic… getting close to the ice cream man could mean getting something else. Fact of life, yet here is Mr. Freeze – not his name – in his truck of treats, unmasked, ungloved, taking cash for cones,” said CBS Chicago reporter Brad Edwards. He then broke the news that “ice cream trucks are banned” in Hoffman Estates. “The village manager tells us, if you see that ice cream man – call 9-1-1,” Edwards said. Hopefully, Edwards won’t discover most restaurants are delivering food directly to homes.
A defense official detailed “interim guidance” that anyone who has been “hospitalized with COVID-19 will be medically disqualified and would need a service waiver to join.” The Military Entrance Processing Command issued a memo noting a reported history of confirmed COVID-19 will be annotated as “considered disqualifying.” During the medical history interview or examination, a history of COVID-19, confirmed by either a lab test or clinician diagnosis, is permanently disqualifying.
It could be more than a year before churches are allowed to resume their in-person gatherings, according to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D), if churches are allowed to open at all.. Pritzker announced a five-phase plan to reopen along with estimated dates they will be allowed to reopen.In phase four, gatherings of up to 50 people will be allowed. Gatherings of more than 50 people will not be allowed until phase five along with all other “centers of recreation.” At a press conference Tuesday, Pritzker said, “We have to figure out how to live with COVID-19 until it can be vanquished.”
A Kenosha County woman arrested after trying to gain access to a government meeting plans to fight the charges, claiming the arrest violated public meetings laws. A sheriff’s department news release Wednesday said that was the moment officers realized Mary Moser was not a board supervisor, they explained the meeting was closed and told her she could attend the meeting by watching it on an internet feed. “I don’t want to watch it, I want to participate in citizens comments,” Moser told WISN-TV.
The names and addresses of approximately 900 people in Missouri were released as part of a media request under the Sunshine Law, which allows for the release of information submitted to a public agency (except for wrongdoing and abuse tips). St. Louis County had urged the community to share details of anyone not following guidelines in response to the coronavirus panic. “When there is something that happens next time, I’m not going to feel safe or protected enough to call the local authorities,” one of the tipsters told KSDK-TV.
Businesses are getting involved in the silliness, too:
Six Flags, which operates a number of theme parks in America, posted a notice to its websites on Tuesday as it prepares to reopen some parks. “To meet state social distancing guidelines and ensure the health and safety of our guests, all visits to the park must be pre-scheduled using our online reservation system.” Six Flags will also be conducting temperature checks at entrances and requiring guests to wear face masks at all times. It will also limit the number of riders on each ride.
Oregon bicyclists have received some bad news — the World Naked Bike Ride has been canceled due to the COVID-19 crisis. However, Portland residents don’t have to put their pants on just yet. According to the ride’s website, the collective ride is pivoting to a “World Naked Bike Ride DAY,” with no start location, start time or designated route. With this change in place, the site is now encouraging people to hop on their bikes and pedal around in the buff on June 27th — as long as they practice proper social distancing, of course.