Sandbox: An inconvenient truth
by Anthony Ward Higgins
I am writing because I believe firm action to stop Manhattan Beach from allowing takeout diners to subvert the county Covid health orders and undermine public safety during a raging pandemic (“Manhattan Beach to allow outdoor dining for to-go orders,” ERNews). Manhattan Beach is among the growing number of cities that don’t provide email addresses for city officials so I can’t copy them. I hope this somehow finds its way to the Manhattan Beach Mayor, City Council and City Manager. The concern we all have is that a shutdown is going to lead to the worst of all scenarios, where we’re going to have massive economic destruction in LA County and the virus is barely going to be dented. As a neighbor living in North Hermosa Beach, I find it simply astounding that the normally sane Manhattan Beach City government (relative to Hermosa Beach) would do something so stupid as to allow residents and visitors to eat their takeout at dirty unsanitary restaurant tables that have not been cleaned between sittings. It’s more risky than allowing these diners to sit at tables serviced by restaurant personnel because the tables are not sanitized between settings. Why would you do that unless the city council and the restaurant owners have decided it’s worth putting vulnerable populations at risk simply to make a point that they don’t agree with county rules intended to stem the tide of a raging pandemic, a pandemic that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has characterized as the greatest threat to life the city of LA has ever seen.
As we enter the season of runny-dripping noses, respiratory infections and coughing it’s the wrong time to encourage outdoor dining at unsanitary and potentially virus laden tables. Anyone who would put vulnerable populations at unnecessary risk to make an economic point during a raging pandemic should look in the mirror and ask, “Am I a closet-sociopath or do I simply choose to be uninformed to avoid an inconvenient truth.“ I fully support reopening the economy as soon as we have mask and distancing enforcement adequate to the task, widespread testing of our symptomatic and asymptomatic population so we can stem the indoor spread of Covid and tracing that is up to the challenge we are facing. Focus on that and not on half-cocked plans that will only make things worse in our community and not address the root issues. We have more Covid deaths in a single day now than Japan has had in the entire duration of the pandemic.
LA County now is experiencing more than 10,000 new infections a day. Enough is enough. I hope the county intercedes in the Manhattan Beach order allowing take out diners to use unsanitary restaurant tables and subvert the county health order.
by Jen Ezpeleta