Whether you’re pro-mask or anti-mask, pro-lockdown or anti-lockdown, or pro-infect-your-parents-at-Thanksgiving or anti-infect you-parents-at-Thanksgiving, one of the few things both sides of the Oklahoma Coronamania echo chambers can agree on is that Gov. Kevin Stitt has done a terrible and puzzling job handling the pandemic.
Earlier this week, Stitt Blade took the bold step to mandate that all bars and restaurants – from the trendiest watering holes to the dingiest dives – close by 11 p.m., effectively ruining Thanksgiving holiday party plans for the tens of thousands of Oklahomans who aren’t takinging the Coronavirus seriously. He also mandated that all state employees wear masks, which bigs the question – state employees weren’t already required to wear masks? WTF, Stitt.
The move, which felt more like a poorly thought out PR stunt than an actual attempt to slow the spread of the virus, drew outrage and criticism from virtually all sides of the Coronamania echo chamber. Outside of the typical Derplahoman “Any government action to address the pandemic is tyranny!” crowd, the primary complaints were:
A) The mandate doesn’t do enough to address or stem the spread of Coronavirus.
B) The mandate unfairly targets the bar and nightclub industry
C) The mandate, as a stand-alone measure, doesn’t make a lot of sense.
They all have points.
For example, Stitt is okay closing bars and restaurants after 11 p.m. but still won’t implement a simple statewide mask mandate for public places? That’s absurd.
And where’s the logic or consistency in stopping people from closing down a Henry Hudsons with their old friends from high school the night before Thanksgiving, then catching the virus and giving it to grandma at Thanksgiving dinner, but allowing people to pass it around the Penn Square Mall food court on Black Friday, and then going home and giving it to grandma while eating turkey sandwiches that night?
And what about churches? You’re not allowing people to dance the night and – depending on the viral load – possibly their lives away at the local honky-tonk on Saturday night, but it’s okay for people to do this on Sunday morning:
The State puts more restrictions on bars and restaurants, but what about churches like @victorytulsa that need to do their part? No masks. No social distancing. (Footage posted last night on IG by pastor @PaulDaugherty.) pic.twitter.com/KZ9gUhfVwJ
— Tim Landes (@TimLandesJr) November 18, 2020
Seriously, Kevin Stitt should pass an executive order not allowing mega-churches to open until after 11 a.m. That will probably save a couple of hundred lives right there.
The move naturally pissed off the local bar and restaurant owners, who are team pro-economy / anti-lockdown. I know this because I’m friends with some of them. They’re already reeling financially from the pandemic and would much rather roll the dice and risk getting a few hundred or thousand people sick than close early during one of the busiest bar weeks of the year. Some places even promised open defiance!
“Sumthin Countrys Here.”
Guys, I’ve lived in this state for over 40 years, and those may be the most accurate and brilliant words ever written about Oklahoma. Expect it to be a hit Toby Keith song soon.
With, in a Coronavirus sense, local hotspots like Western Night promising rebellion, David Holt put down his selfie stick and made this proclamation:
Here is the Revised Proclamation of State of Emergency issued by OKC Mayor David Holt yesterday.
Biggest practical effect of this document is that it ensures local police can enforce Gov. Stitt’s new restaurant and bar restrictions pic.twitter.com/0OsvCEFFIE
— Dillon Richards (@KOCODillon) November 20, 2020
Although David Holt promised his bestie that OKC would enforce the mandate, you have to wonder if municipalities in the more “Sumthin Countrys Here” parts of the state will follow suit. I’m going to assume the answer is “No.”
Anyway, I guess we’ll monitor social media over the next week or so to see if any bars or restaurants defy Stitt’s order. If you know of any, send them our way so we can make fun of them. Have a great weekend, and remember nothing good happens after 11pm.