Dining Rooms Shouldn’t Reopen Until Restaurant Workers Are Eligible for the Vaccine

This is what is really annoying me about the vaccine phase roll outs.  And not just restaurant workers being shut out.  What about supermarket workers who we called heroes back in the early days of the pandemic yet haven’t put them in a higher priority phase.

As of today, March 1, restaurants in Massachusetts are fully open. There are still guidelines that must be followed — masks must be worn, tables must be spaced at least six feet apart, parties must not exceed six diners, and so on — but for the first time since the onset of the pandemic, restaurants are free to jam as many people into their dining rooms as the state’s social distancing guidelines will permit.

It’s the third significant restriction Gov. Charlie Baker has lifted for restaurants in the state in the past five weeks. A lot of people have been waiting a long time for this day, which signals a return to some version of normalcy for many. The news would be exciting if it weren’t so monumentally reckless.

Baker, who lifted the state’s stay-at-home advisory and early business closure order that required restaurants to close by 9:30 p.m. in late January, and increased dining room capacities from 25 to 40 percent in early February, attributed the accelerated reopening to encouraging trends in public health data. While it’s true that there’s been a steady decline in COVID-19 cases — the state hasn’t reported more than 2,000 new cases on a single day since February 12 after routinely topping 5,000 new cases per day in December and January — Massachusetts is still just weeks removed from the pandemic’s peak, when its healthcare infrastructure was stretched to its outer limits for a second time in under a year.

Meanwhile, the state’s vaccine program is underway, but the rollout has been fraught at best, and does not currently include restaurant workers, who face a heightened risk for COVID-19 infection, especially with the emergence of new virus variants. Food service workers — including meatpackers, delivery drivers, and grocery workers — have exposed themselves to the risks of COVID-19 for a year because the state classified their work as essential last March, when the pandemic first broke out. Yet they must sit around and hit refresh on the state’s website to figure out when they’ll be eligible for the vaccine. To open dining rooms without capacity limits so soon after emerging from the darkest days of the pandemic, without having made them eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine — and without indicating exactly when they might become eligible — is unconscionable.

Question of the Day (Vaccine Edition)

On February 12th, I asked how people were going with their vaccinations. And criticized my own state of Massachusetts for being so damn slow. Some good news here at least. They moved to the next group (65+) and all of my relatives now who were eligible have had their first shot. Here is where we currently stand with the phases.

It basically took about a week from the announcement that the 2nd group was eligible to when my family and friends were able to actually get an appointment. I thought it would be longer for them to get an appointment. This is good news and I hope that we can move on to the next group soon.

I’m in phase 49 I believe. I think I need to wait for restaurant workers, grocery workers, educational employees, feral cats, barnyard animals, etc. But even being far back on the priority list, I’m a bit encouraged from the improvements I’ve seen in the last two weeks.

How is everybody else doing now?

QAnon believers think Trump will be inaugurated again on March 4

The beauty of a conspiracy theory is that you can always move the goalposts. The same applies to religions also. Oh, the rapture didn’t happen when we predicted because somebody in Libreville, Gabon dropped a spoon directly on the equator and conditions were no longer right. But they will be again in 2 years! The latest is that Trump will be inaugurated on March 4th because….. well:

QAnon followers started talking about March 4 beginning in early- to mid-January, after some were disappointed that the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol failed to bring about a series of predicted military tribunals and executions that they refer to as “the Storm.” But the latest conspiracy theory really began picking up steam in February, following Biden’s inauguration and as QAnon followers sought “different ways to explain their way out of the current reality now that there’s a new administration,” Iandiorio said.

Their rationale for this evidence-free belief — and the meaning behind the March 4 date — is, perhaps unsurprisingly, convoluted and based on a series of misinterpretations, conspiracy theories, and outright lies. But here’s how the theory goes:

QAnon believers claim that the US federal government secretly became a corporation under a law they believe passed in 1871 but does not actually exist, rendering every president inaugurated and every constitutional amendment passed in the years since illegitimate.

But on March 4, the narrative goes, Trump will return as the 19th president, the first legitimate president since Ulysses S. Grant, with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as his vice president. Why March 4? It’s the original date that presidents were inaugurated. Inauguration Day changed to January 20 with the passage of the 20th amendment in 1933 — the same year that Franklin D. Roosevelt ended the gold standard.

Wut?

Trump’s plan was to not have a plan and let the states do all of the work is quite the fact check here.