Readers comments 12-4-20
Outdoor dining misdirected
The November 27, 2020 Claremont Chamber of Commerce letter to the Courier calling Claremont residents to lobby L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis to support “keeping outdoor dining open” is understandable. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit these businesses hard to the point that they are struggling to see a way to survive. So are all small businesses. So are all who this pandemic has made join the ranks of the unemployed. So are many who have become housing-insecure and food-insecure during this pandemic. So are all the nurses and doctors whose strength and compassion seem to have no end but in fact are stretched thin beyond our imagination. So are all those among us whose love ones have died from COVID-19. Every empathetic soul must be heartbroken at the depth and magnitude of suffering in these times.
But the chamber’s desire to “keep outdoor dining open” is ill-informed and misdirected. The culprit in this pandemic is COVID-19, not the L.A. County Supervisors. The path to economic recovery has two avenues. Both require “all hands on deck” to stop the spread of this deadly virus and to provide economic relief to small businesses, homeowners, renters, the unemployed, and healthcare facilities.
Stopping the spread of the virus requires most of the population strictly observing mask-wearing, social-distancing and handwashing. It requires the rapid, mass manufacturing and distribution of personal protective equipment to essential healthcare and business workers. It requires rapidly administering effective vaccinations to up to 80 percent of the population. These actions require the coordination of local, county, state, and federal health. Public outcry is needed to urge them to make these essential steps to stopping the spread of the virus their top priority.
Economic relief for small businesses, homeowners and renters, the unemployed, and healthcare facilities will mostly have to come from the U.S. House and Senate. This pandemic has all but eliminated the ability of local, county, and state agencies to provide needed economic relief. Public outcry is needed to urge the president and the leadership of the House and Senate to make economic relief for small businesses, homeowners, renters, the unemployed, and healthcare facilities their top priority.
Taking both avenues—stopping the spread of the virus and economic relief—is essential to getting us through this pandemic and its grave economic impact.
Bottom line more important?
By refusing to abide by the restrictions imposed by the L.A. County Department of Public Health, local restaurant owners are saying that their bottom line is more important than the health and well-being of the community members they serve. I assume the reason no restaurant owner was willing to go on the record for this story (“Claremont restaurants band together opposing
dining ban,” 11/27) is because they didn't want to have to say this aloud.
I will be alert to the local restaurants that are abiding by the ban in the coming weeks and will go out of my way to patronize them in the short and long term. I invite other community-minded readers to join me.
Thank you Claremont!
When you live in a town like Claremont, 44 years can seem to fly by in an instant. This beautiful community filled with warm and gifted people has been the backdrop to our family’s narrative. It is here, in this close-knit community, that we raised our daughter Kristen who attended Sycamore and El Roble. It is here where her talents were nurtured. It is here that we fell in love with amazing neighbors and developed a circle of lifelong friends at both OLA and Claremont United Church of Christ.
It is easy to fall in love with all that Claremont has to offer—a quiet little college town nestled in the midst of suburban Southern California. It is a place where creativity grows and people still show up for one another. There is a vitality of spirit here that is contagious.
As we begin our new adventure of moving to Virginia to be closer to our family, all of the connections we have made journey with us. Thank you, friends and neighbors for giving us memories that will stay in our hearts always.
Steve and Amy Duncan
I am disappointed by the fact that a large number of Claremont restaurants are actively defying the county’s public health orders—so far with impunity, and with the tacit support of the Claremont COURIER, which has pledged to publicize their petition. The sad reality is the pandemic is going to get worse, not better, and it is simply not safe to operate anything that will attract large numbers of people.
I don’t blame individual customers here—we’ve spent months now learning the hard way that individuals cannot always be trusted to act in the interests of public health, and people are (understandably!) craving some sense of normalcy. I include myself in this! Though I’ve not sat at a restaurant since March, I don’t always social distance well, and I’ve had a few masked, outdoor gatherings that were probably unwise. So in order to counteract the bad behavior that we know everyone is going to engage in when gatherings occur, the public health authorities are attempting to limit our incentives to gather. Yes, it’s unpleasant medicine—but it’s necessary.
Don’t get me wrong: I love Claremont's restaurants, and I know that things are exceptionally bad. I plan to continue getting take-out from them—probably even from those that are willfully disregarding the safety of their workers and customers at the moment (though I shouldn’t!). But right now, these restaurants have shown that they are willing to risk the safety of their workers and customers alike in pursuit of their own payout. If Claremont’s business community really wants to organize a response, it would be wiser for them to focus their energy on demanding relief from the state and federal governments. We’re not going to be able to spend or shop our way out of this—instead, business leaders and workers should all be demanding massive bailouts for all sectors, but especially for restaurants and retail. Direct stimulus, debt cancellation, rent forgiveness—everything must be on the table.
[Editor’s note: Although there are a number of restaurants still serving outside, based on our observations, the majority are following the latest COVID-19 mandates. The COURIER also has not “pledged to publicize” any restaurant petition or any particular point of view in our news coverage. —PW]