RALEIGH – Governor Roy Cooper and Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen held a press conference Tuesday in which they explained (or didn’t explain) some adjustments to coronavirus lockdown restrictions that are, in one way, consistent with their approach to the entire Pandemic Panic. That is; the slight adjustments are completely and utterly arbitrary.
Cooper did not announce an end to forced closures of targeted businesses like private bars, movie theaters, or event venues.
Instead he offered those business owners a small bandage to try to the lifeblood of their businesses — open doors for customers to walk through — from draining out of their livelihoods.
Cooper announced a $40 million program called the N.C. Mortgage, Utility and Rent Relief (MURR), through which affected businesses can apply for up to four months worth of costs, a maximum of a $20,000 grant to cover their fixed bills. The funds come from the federal CARES Act, so it doesn’t require another appropriation from the N.C. General Assembly.
For those businesses that still have Cooper’s boot fully on their neck, prohibited from opening at all, they can apply for one grant each for up to two separate locations. The program is on a first come first serve basis.
As far as when they’ll actually be able to open their doors and welcome paying customers, they will have to wait until at least October 2 when the current closure decree expires. Both Cooper and Cohen said they were ‘watching the trends carefully’ to see if that’s a possibility, before falling back on the Pandemic Panic dogma of wearing masks, washing hands, and staying six feet apart.
One positive change, though one indicative of what’s wrong with all of these restrictions, is the announcement about outdoor stadiums and arenas being allowed fans. Not so fast; only outdoor stadiums or arenas that seat at least 10,000 people, and those venues will only be allowed 7 percent of their total capacity. Why 7 percent? No actual reason beyond that it sounded like a nice number that would allow for the all important social distancing.
So the Carolina Panthers can host up to 5,250 people at Bank of America stadium (75,000 capacity). UNC’s Kenan Stadium can host 3,850 (55,000 capacity).
Any outdoor venues with a capacity of less than 10,000, you’re out of luck. Why? Just because, ‘science.’
Speaking of ‘science,’ Cooper and Cohen repeatedly asserted that masks are the best form of protection against the virus based on the science. Which science? How dare you!
Of note, not one of the pre-selected reporters’ questions has actually asked for the specific scientific study that gives Cooper and Cohen such confidence in mandating the use of masks by adults and children, statewide, and asserting their proven effectiveness in public.
Someone did ask about the handling of nursing homes in reference to recent reports that the Cooper regime has consistently dropped the ball regarding protection measures of the most vulnerable to the virus. To this, Cohen asserted that they’re actually doing great on nursing homes now.
A follow up asking for specifics to support that assertion? “We’ll have to get back to you on that,” said Cohen.
Aside from the 7 percent magic number for huge stadiums, from what we can tell, the 50 person limit to outdoor ‘mass gatherings’ is still in place (25 person limit indoors) until at least October 2.
Makes sense? No? Great; everybody’s on the same page then.