According to this shitty graphic, the event is billing itself as a “peaceful protest and rally” to let “the tyrant of Illinois know our small businesses and their employees incomes are ‘essential’ to providing for their families.”
Image from Facebook.
What it actually is: A gathering of white people, organized by Mahomet real estate magnate Nick Taylor, who want to be able to eat food inside with other people, regardless of how many people in the community are sick, and regardless of the shrinking hospital capacity. Taylor’s son, Justin Taylor, announced last week that he would be closing JT Walker’s.
Restaurants and bars are in a terrible situation. Of course it’s awful that they are forced into closing their indoor service.
However, those who want to protest at C-U Public Health, which 1) is closed on Saturdays, and 2) is not where “the tyrant of Illinois” is governing from, continue to either ignore how this virus works, or just don’t care. Their anger, while it may be warranted, is misdirected. They should be angry at this virus that spreads in the air. And since it’s not very productive to be angry at something we have no control over, that anger should be directed at the lack of a coordinated federal response to COVID-19, the community members who are living their lives as usual and gathering without concern or caution, the failure to provide economic relief for restaurants and bars, who are bearing the brunt of the shutdowns.
Yes, you can go to Walmart. They sell groceries, which are essential. The other thing about Walmart, and any other retail establishment, is that you wear a mask while you are there, as do (hopefully) the other patrons. You do not linger in one area for long and you do not gather in groups and interact with others for a long period of time.
In a restaurant, no matter how “clean” they are, masks are removed to eat and drink, and you are breathing and talking and laughing your droplets into the air, where they continue to circulate, therefore endangering other patrons and employees (yes, even if employees are masked). Dining indoors is not safe right now, particularly during a time where rates of infection are as high as they are now.
Every restaurant owner is suffering right now. But most also accept and understand their responsibility to protect the health of their employees, and of the community, and they have busted their asses to pivot, get creative, and find ways to stay alive. They are not standing in a parking lot (probably with no masks on) stomping their feet and yelling at the mean governor and public health lady.
Top image from Facebook.