MOSSYROCK, WA – On Nov. 16, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee instituted a statewide order mandating numerous businesses be shuttered for four weeks – including indoor dining and bars, gyms, and bowling alleys.
Mossyrock passes ordinance allowing businesses to open. https://t.co/s6H90gkjjN
— PatriotPrayerUSA (@PatriotPrayerUS) November 28, 2020
Yet, Mossyrock Mayor Randall Sasser argues that there’s not really data to back up why his town should be forcing businesses to close shop for a month.
With those sentiments in mind, the town passed an ordinance that allows businesses to remain open during the governor’s executive order period.
While Mayor Sasser isn’t trying to downplay the pandemic, he recently said on a radio show interview that there’s currently barely a presence of the virus in Mossyrock:
“I think this is a very important issue that’s going on within our country and within our state right now, and we’ve got to stand up for what is right.
“[Officials] have issued the numbers by commissioner’s district, but not by zip code. And currently in Mossyrock, in our 98564 zip code, there is no information that states that there is any cases whatsoever within our zip code of COVID, or any deaths related to it.”
Mayor Sasser also noted that while there have been some deaths from the virus in the county that Mossyrock resides in, suicides have increased by over 300 percent in the county:
“Lewis County this year, we’ve had a total, as of today, of 14 deaths due to COVID, unfortunately. But so far this year, we’ve had 10 suicides, and last year there was only three suicides in Lewis County.”
The mayor’s logic is that if there’s been no pandemic-related deaths and minimal cases of the virus in Mossyrock, the city shouldn’t have to abide by Governor Inslee’s recent executive order:
“So when we look at the shutdowns and everything that’s happening and there’s no data that says the Mossyrock area 98564 zip code has any cases or deaths, why then should we suffer as a city and as citizens following the governor’s mandate?”
In fact, Mayor Sasser believes that any zip code in the state that hasn’t been hit hard by the pandemic shouldn’t have to concede to the month-long lockdown.
Simply issuing a blanket order for the state isn’t managing the pandemic, he says, because it completely absolves leaders in a de facto way of managing the true “hot spots” in Washington:
“[H]ow can you manage a pandemic if you don’t know exactly where the hot spots are? And if in our area we do not have any hot spots, so then why should we as a community be held hostage with our schools and our citizens to the rest of the state?”
Furthermore, Mayor Sasser noted that even though the executive order singled out gyms and eateries, officials in Washington haven’t provided data to back up that those establishments are the vector of serious spreading:
“[I]f we had the data that the governor keeps talking about … and it showed that, yes, it was coming from the restaurants or it was coming from gyms or salons, then that’s a whole different ball park, you know? But he doesn’t. There is no data that shows that it’s coming from the restaurants.”
What has Mayor Sasser concerned about the moves being made by elected officials during the pandemic is that it is being used to beta test how willing people are to comply with anything over fear:
“I believe it’s more of a control (issue) than anything else. I believe that they want to be able to control us and tell us what we need to do and get us accustomed to always following what they say.
“Because I believe that there is something bigger that they have planned to keep us under their thumb.”
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Speaking of elected officials and pandemic-related restrictions, the governor of Florida is actually doing quite the opposite than that of the Governor of Washington.
Florida Governor Rick DeSantis issued a recent executive order stopping localities from enforcing certain pandemic restrictions.
Florida governor extends order banning local governments from enforcing mask mandate violations
FLORIDA – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently extended the September executive order that prohibits enforcing fines for individuals who violate COVID-19 mandates such as individuals not adorning face coverings in designated areas.
DeSantis extends executive order banning local governments from enforcing mask mandate violationshttps://t.co/sv9pEtZevR
— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) November 25, 2020
The extension has caused some pushback from elected officials in various cities, according to reports, likening the order as a de facto permission to flout measures aimed at protecting public health.
According to the Sept. 25 executive order from Gov. DeSantis, cities can not force restaurants to operate at a capacity less than 50 percent.
Furthermore, for any restaurant compelled by local government to operate at a capacity lower that 100 percent, local authorities have to detail the following:
- Quantify the economic impact of each limitation or requirement on the
- Explain why each limitation or requirement is necessary for public health
Also with the September order, section four notes that issuances of any fines related to COVID-19 violations must be suspended:
“This order, consistent with Executive Order 20-92, suspends the collection of fines and penalties associated with COVID-19 enforced upon individuals.”
— WFLA NEWS (@WFLA) November 25, 2020
On Nov. 24, Gov. DeSantis extended the order, effectively suspending the collection of fines issued by local governments to individuals who violate COVID-19 restrictions.
State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith is among those critical of the executive order, saying:
“Now local leaders feel handcuffed because Governor DeSantis signed an executive order saying that they were not allowed to enforce their own mask mandate. Governor DeSantis needs to lead or he needs to get out of the way.”
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman is also urging Gov. DeSantis to afford localities control when it comes to enforcing pandemic-related mandates:
“We are concerned. The numbers are moving in the wrong direction. While reports we get as far as hospitalizations aren’t at a point where our hospitals are being stretched thin, if our numbers continue to climb, I don’t think that situation isn’t going to remain.”
— WFLA NEWS (@WFLA) November 23, 2020
The Florida League of Cities, a consortium composed of hundreds of cities and localities that collaborate on legislative endeavors, mirrored sentiments related to allowing local governments to enforce pandemic mandates stating:
“We believe the governor should allow cities to take the actions they believe are necessary to protect their citizens. When our state and local governments work together, we are better equipped to manage this public health crisis.”
One effort that local elected officials seem to carry a consensus on is that they’d like to see Gov. DeSantis adopt a statewide mask mandate.
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