WWYD to Open Businesses Again?

What Would You Do to Open Businesses Again?

There must be a way to open businesses again. Wisconsin has a 16-page document to close them and Minnesota has 22 pages. Can we make a list of ten items (maybe more) that make sense in order for a small business to open its doors and serve the public safely?

I started a list of six items that make sense to me. Do you have anything to add?

  1.  Handwash/sanitizer stations at all entrances and exits seem like a good idea. Everyone coming in and going out are required to wash their hands.
  2.  Special cleaning protocols to be performed three times a day makes sense, too. Identify all commonly touched surfaces on both customer- and employee-facing portions of the business and sanitize every three hours from opening to closing.
  3. Implement and post signs on occupancy protocol. Occupancy protocol to be no more than 1 person for every 36 square feet of floor space. (A six-foot radius)
  4. Aprons, masks, and gloves to be worn by all employees where they may be worn safely and do not present a hazard in the job.
  5. Temperature checks of employees before shift begins. No employee can work with cough or other respiratory symptoms. Sorry, if you have allergies you can’t work as long as symptoms are present. Everyone needs to know that everyone else is not a potential risk
  6. Provide patrons with info material on “infection risk avoidance” in a public space.
  7. ???

 

Sad to hear…

From one of my favorite independent Wisconsin investigative news sources (UpNorthNews) come these two announcements:

Not a Hoax, Part One – Virginia pastor Landon Spradlin, who claimed the coverage of the coronavirus outbreak was a media campaign to create hysteria and hurt President Trump, has died from COVID-19, reports Newsweek. Spradlin, 66, took ill in New Orleans where he was on a mission trip to cleanse the city of its “sin and debauchery.”

Not a Hoax, Part Two – Also in Virginia, Jerry Falwell, Jr. is shirking any responsibility for a COVID-19 outbreak on the campus of Liberty University days after telling students to come back to campus following spring break. On a March 10 appearance on Fox & Friends, Falwell called the coverage of the coronavirus outbreak an overreaction by critics upset about the outcome of President Trump’s impeachment trial. About a dozen Liberty students have contracted COVID-19 and three are hospitalized. (New York Times)

Hospitalization Rate?

I’ve just begun looking into the hospitalization percentage of COVID-19 cases. I found this but if you have a different source, please let me know.

At a 10% hospitalization rate, all hospital beds in the U.S. will be filled by about May 10. And with many patients requiring weeks of care, turnover will slow to a crawl as beds fill with Covid-19 patients.

If I’m wrong by a factor of two regarding the fraction of severe cases, that only changes the timeline of bed saturation by six days (one doubling time) in either direction. If 20% of cases require hospitalization, we run out of beds by about May 4. If only 5% of cases require it, we can make it until about May 16, and a 2.5% rate gets us to May 22.

 

A Story for Our Times

Sixty singers showed up. A greeter offered hand sanitizer at the door, and members refrained from the usual hugs and handshakes.

“It seemed like a normal rehearsal, except that choirs are huggy places,” Burdick recalled. “We were making music and trying to keep a certain distance between each other.”

After 2½ hours, the singers parted ways at 9 p.m.

Nearly three weeks later, 45 have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or ill with the symptoms, at least three have been hospitalized, and two are dead.

The outbreak has stunned county health officials, who have concluded that the virus was almost certainly transmitted through the air from one or more people without symptoms.

The backstory…

“… Skagit County hadn’t reported any cases, schools and businesses remained open, and prohibitions on large gatherings had yet to be announced. On March 6, Adam Burdick, the choir’s conductor, informed the 121 members in an email that amid the “stress and strain of concerns about the virus,” practice would proceed as scheduled at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church.

You can imagine how shocked everyone is at how rapidly this church was impacted by this virus.

Stay safe and be careful.

National Shut Down? Hooey!

The first Coronavirus infected person arrived in the US on January 15th and it was disclosed on January 20th. Two months later, thanks to the virus and air travel, every state has at least one case of COVID-19 reported.

Today there are 29 states with stay-at-home orders in place and every state has some restrictions on gatherings.

What good would a national shut down do at this time?

Wouldn’t it better to have a plan on how to live with the virus instead of trying to stop its spread?

Look here, the number of people allowed to go to work is reduced but not eliminated. People gotta live, people gotta work, people gotta play.  As long as this virus procreates in human bodies and there are humans, we are going to have this issue with us.

While the focus is on breaking human-to-human contact, it’s more important to figure out how society is going to live with this disease until science finds a treatment plan and a COVID-19 vaccine is developed. It may take months to find a safe solution.

Don’t kill the goose that lays golden eggs because the goose is infected. Care for the goose until it is well again. Treat the infection, protect the rest.

I advocate for protecting the elderly.  Hand sanitizers in every building open to the public. Comprehensive personal protocols to detect the disease. Protocols when you suspect you have the disease. Lockdown nursing homes until safe protocols are implemented so grandkids don’t infect great-grandpa.

There may be hundreds of living habits that have to change and we should begin changing them. Right now.

This is not a one-and-done deal.

Learn to live with COVID-19 in society BEFORE you kill society.

Wisconsin Stay at Home Order

There are sixteen pages in Governor Evers Emergency Order #12,  Stay at Home Order. It is in effect until April 24th. It is a very serious order and citizens in highly populated areas should fully comply. Milwaukee has more than 6,000 people per square mile. My COUNTY  has 52 people per square mile (about .o8 people per acre)

The order is less serious here in NW Wisconsin but is supported none-the-less. Our office practices work from home, social distancing, and teleconferencing. People are shuttered-in for now. Folk around here thank God that hunting season was over before this pandemic started. Can you imagine tens of thousands of men in hunting cabins elbow-bumping hello, maintaining social distancing, and using hand sanitizers after holding a beer, eating cannibal sandwiches, and cleaning their guns?  The very thought of cannibal sandwiches being eaten from hands saturated with floral-smelling hand sanitizer is enough to make you gag.

Yikes! A contagion in the making from all the law-breaking!

Our County is already flattening the curve by its small population. But as you know, we are no longer trying to flatten the curve, we are trying to prevent others from catching COVID-19 AT ALL COSTS. We are willing to close all small and friendly businesses and only keep in business the megastores and national chains with self-checkout and drive-thrus. Ok, that might be a stretch but…it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck.

Of course, the barbershops and the hair salons have to close. They are hotbeds of disease and cannot be counted on to have hand sanitation stations as you arrive and leave. Nor can they actually wipe down the equipment they use between appointments. But maybe after the curve is flattened, they can be opened again. Men and women like to be well-groomed and not look like they live in a movie version of a socialist country.

Here is what I think you should know about the Safer at Home Order:

  • You are ordered to stay at home. Period.
  • You are permitted to leave your home to travel for the following reasons:
    1. To go to work if your employer is a business considered essential.
    2. To go to work if your employer provides support for essential government functions OR is the government.
    3. To buy groceries, take-out food, fuel, and other stuff essential to run your household and take care of your health.
    4. To go and obtain medical supplies, seek emergency services, and seek a health care professional for you, the family that lives with you, and your pets (dogs, cats, etc). Please note: social distancing does not apply to your pets.
    5. To travel to a state park or local park to engage in outdoor activities that do not have human-to-human contact. It appears you can pile your family (or friends) into the car to travel to a state park but once there, you cannot come within six feet of each other. You can play catch and use a Frisbee but you cannot play any team sports like baseball, basketball, etc. The playground equipment is closed to you and your children. You cannot jog within 6 feet of each other.
    6. To travel to care for family members, friends, or pets AND you can transport your family member, friend, or pet as allowed in the Order. HOWEVER, you are not permitted under the Order to travel to a hospital, nursing home, etc. to visit your family member, friend, or pet. (It is unclear if “caring” includes visiting but you can travel to them if you are bringing them groceries, fuel, and other stuff to run their household while they are in the hospital, nursing, home, etc. A word to the wise is “Bring food to all hospital visits just in case.”)
  •  All public and private gatherings are not permitted (not even two people), unless specifically permitted, of course.
    1. No birthday parties with friends and families, but you are permitted to gather with people who live with you and play video games, board games, or make forts and play The-Floor-is-Lava. (The State of Wisconsin has a heart, you know.)
    2. Permitted activities in which less than ten people are involved at a time and they practice social distancing include: weddings, funerals and other religious gatherings. (The State of Wisconsin has a heart, you know.)
    3. You are not permitted to talk over the backyard fence with your neighbor (a non-essential gathering) even if you are six feet away from them but you can call them or Skype with them using technology. (The size of the heart in the State of Wisconsin does have its limitations.)

It appears that Wisconsin’s good neighbor policy has been slightly adjusted so that your neighbor can call you for a cup of sugar and you can deliver it; however, they cannot solicit you at the front door for a cup of sugar.

Not even if it is essential to their recipe.

 

 

 

 

 

The Value of Panic Buying

I know you. You are like me. You are a ReasonableCitizen, and you don’t panic-buy even when threatened with an epidemic. You are rational, and you send out memes that show how wrong people are to panic buy. You chuckled to yourself how those idiots are overreacting to all the media hype.

You felt superior. You got your emotions under control, and it was easy to walk by the grocery aisle where the disinfectants were on shelves and not buy even one bottle of hand sanitizer. You are a superior individual and not one of the crowd.

But now it’s three weeks later, and this sh!t is getting real. So now you think it wouldn’t hurt to get a little something for the office or for the handle on the grocery cart, you know, just to be safe. Yeah, that’s it. Now is the time to purchase those disinfectant wipes and those hand sanitizers that everyone coveted in the early days.

Only now, there are empty shelves and no disinfectant wipes or hand sanitizers anywhere.

You wonder if Where’s Waldo has them, and maybe you just need to search the store a little better. But, unfortunately, there is none to be found. Not in with medical kits by the pharmacy. None in the baby aisle either. A light bulb goes off in your head, and you think “camping equipment” and run your butt over there. Alas, you are at least two weeks too late for that one, also.

So now you decide to just make your own! What a brilliant idea! Aloe gel and isopropyl alcohol or maybe witch hazel! You are pumped to think that you are just a bit smarter than the average bear, and you practically dance to the right aisle to learn…WTF… that maybe you aren’t an average bear after all. They are empty, too.

With a heavy heart, you go home and wash your hands with just plain soap and water. Then you pray.

You pray that the next time you won’t be so Reasonable in your approach to a pandemic, epidemic, viral threat, whatever… you pray that you can get there ahead of everyone else and elbow your way to snag two of everything. Not because you are a hoarder, you are more perfect than one of those scums, you buy two of everything so you can send one to your elderly parents. They probably won’t be as quick as you. Plus, you can get “favorite child status” if you send them a bottle of everything. You know that they will definitely increase your share of their estate when you demonstrate your consideration by saving their sanitizer bacon. What a blessing you are!

A special thanks to my children who have read this post and will send me their extra bottle of everything that kills microbes. I am about to re-write the will. First come, first served…

 

 

 

 

Wisconsin Guidance on Open Meeting Laws During Crisis

In our community, a scheduled meeting of the Ambulance Service Commission occurs this Thursday evening.  There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our county but adjacent counties have one or two.

I checked for guidance on open meeting law in Wisconsin and it appears the Commission may hold a webinar provided it’s published in advance.

https://publicmeetings.wi.gov/content/documents/3.16.20_OOG%20Advisory_COVID-19_and_Open_Meetings.pdf

When an open meeting is held by teleconference or video conference, the public must have a means of monitoring the meeting. DOJ concludes that, under the present circumstances, a governmental body will typically be able to meet this obligation by providing the public with information (in accordance with notice requirements) for joining the meeting remotely, even if there is no central location at which the public can convene for the meeting. A governmental body conducting a meeting remotely should be mindful of the possibility that it may be particularly burdensome or even infeasible for one or more individuals who would like to observe a meeting to do so remotely—for example, for people without telephone or internet access or who are deaf or hard of hearing—and appropriate accommodations should be made to facilitate reasonable access to the meeting for such individuals

At the present time, the meeting is still face-to-face and a disinfectant wipe down of the probable public contact points will occur. It isn’t possible to disinfect an entire Fire Hall and equipment but the public access spaces can be wiped down.

For those who may wish to lash out about minimizing contact, I wish you to know that we are talking about six people meeting as they always have (every other month) and the county has .08 people per acre and there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases in our county. The public never attend this ambulance oversight meeting although they could if they chose to do so. We are already contributing to bending the curve.

I anticipate the Governor of Wisconsin may issue a shuttered-in policy but he has not done so yet and municipal business should proceed in its traditional manner in order to ensure a safe and protected citizenry.

The Commission is prepared to utilize a webinar if it becomes necessary. We hope that it does not.

 

COVID-19 and the National Governors Association

You can find their web page here: https://www.nga.org/coronavirus/#states

They have an excellent web site for following the actions of our nation’s governors’ response to COVID-19. Simply scroll down the link and you will find what each state has done about COVID-19.

Of interest to me is this letter sent to the SecDef about mobilizing the National Guard.

The governors make the following points:

All disasters and emergencies are federally supported, state-managed and locally executed. Governors across the country are working diligently and rapidly to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. This includes activating our National Guard to support our state and territorial health and emergency management professionals.

The Council has long advocated that the Department establish a formal process for governors to request the activation of our National Guard under Title 32, United States Code, specifically 502(f), in response to catastrophic disasters and national emergencies. We believe that this authority, in support of the current National Emergency, will ensure more streamlined and operationally effective and responsive operations to support our communities and citizens in combatting COVID-19. 

Should this National Emergency continue for a prolonged period, the Council urges the Administration to avoid the use of title 10, United State Code for the National Guard, which takes away the governor’s ability to manage their response and diminishes the partnership that helps to ensure each state and territory can address and respond to their unique circumstances.

It is clear the governors do not want the Federal government to place the National Guard under Federal control.

Given my lack of confidence in this administration, I side with the governors.