Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Wolf Has Now Closed 73 Restaurants Statewide

According to records maintained by the state Department of Agriculture, Governor Tom Wolf has now closed 73 restaurants statewide since December 14 over Covid-19 violations. This includes three restaurants in Lehigh County and one in NorCo.

In addition to closing 73 businesses, he's issued Covid-19 warnings to 180 eateries throughout the Commonwealth, including six in Lehigh and one on NorCo. Those warnings were issued the week of December 14-20. No warnings were issued the week of December 21-27. His inspectors just ordered 33 businesses to close.

Since December 14, his agents have responded to 134 Covid-19 complaints from snitches. They've also conducted 730 inspections.

Merry Christmas. 

I completely agree that the pandemic is now at its worst point. According to numbers cruncher Steve Thode, Lehigh County has had 8,189 new Covid cases for the month of December (as of Dec. 29) while NorCo reports 6,980. " Lehigh has had as many new cases in the 29 days of December as it had from the beginning of the pandemic up to November 12. NorCo has had as many new cases in the 29 days of December as it had from the beginning of the pandemic up to November 17."

But are restaurants the reason? 

Though they've been scapegoated and shuttered with no regard to the financial devastation caused, the real problem is that too little emphasis is placed on contact tracing. During the week of December 6-12 (the last week in which the state DOH has bothered to post data), contact tracers have only made contact with nine percent of those who needed to be advised to quarantine. This makes all the testing meaningless. 

In early May, Governor Wolf pledged to create a Commonwealth Civilian Coronavirus Corps to test and trace and provide jobs for those financially impacted by the pandemic. That never happened. Instead of an army of tracers who should be going door-to-door (as they did in Bethlehem during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic), there are just 230 case investigators statewide.  That's no army. This is yet another example of of how badly the state and federal governments have failed its citizenry and local businesses.    

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

I went back to eating out regularly, when regulations permitted. When it was announced that there would a 3-week period of closure until early Jan, I went out both Thursday and Friday, and gave my servers large tips. My assumption was everyone would follow the rules, and I would be eating in until early January - a small price for everyone to pay to help keep us safe. There are many stories out there of people who thought it was no big deal to have get togethers, and now have had serious health issues from contracting the coronavirus. I am glad I am not one. It's real simple - follow the rules. If you don't like a politician, vote them out next time. We did it with Trump. That is how it works.

Anonymous said...

Here is a good Republican politician who just died at age 41 from COVID:
https://www.nola.com/news/coronavirus/article_87489d82-4a47-11eb-9583-f3e4fa6891c1.html

And lovely Republican Senator Cassidy making a statement where he could not resist putting a spin on his condolences: U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy said his death "brings home COVID can kill. To most folks it doesn't but it truly can." Yeah, no kidding. Ask the families of the hundreds of thousands it has killed...

Anonymous said...

The reality is, that we are dealing with a virus. Most all government action is meaningless, You cant outlaw it or contain it. As the vulnerable die off, it will subside. Until then, if you are smart, you will take measures to protect yourself. No one else can protect you.

Anonymous said...

anyone looking for a good Italian meal come on over to Dolche Mamas on Rt 512 in Hanover twps...We will be serving inside sit down,,,,make Your New Years Reservations NOW!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that Mr. McClure emphasized the need for testing and I used the one off of Emerick Blvd. My friend lives in Warren County and her husband had possible symptoms of COVID and he called his PCP office that is connected with one of the large medical organizations and was told he did not need to be tested. He had the same symptoms that made you eligible for tests at the Northampton County drive thru site. I had heard a rumor that the hospitals don't have enough of some of the components to test the samples.

Anonymous said...

"Ask the families of the hundreds of thousands it has killed..."

You're attributing their deaths to the restaurant business? This is the problem in a world where geniuses who think Bill Nye is really a science guy just can't stay focused because they haven't the intellectual tools. No science. No brain. But all heart!

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to list the local restaurants he closed? Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank God for Governor Wolf. At least he is working to ensure the health of the commonwealth and doing a better job then our Federal Government. Governor Wolf is the reason we don’t have a higher death rate.

Perhaps this will be the beginning of a smart movement to bring a living wage to the 99 percenters. Why should our valued and loved food service employees be treated like indentured servants? They deserve a living wage where they do not need to depend on our gratitude for a 20% tip. It is time to make America Great Again and I would be willing to pay 20% more for my meals as long as our waitresses and waiters make $14 an hour and a retirement plan. This would enable America to treat our food service with proper respect and dignity. Let make tips nonessential for this population and get in line with our European counterparts where tips are not part of the living wage.

Us 99% are all hurting and need many humanistic changes in our health care, retirement and wages. Currently, America is moving towards a third world society, how can you start the wheels of progress?

Anonymous said...

death is part of life !!!

Anonymous said...

12:22 - The issue is whether closing restaurants has any effect, and I think it's been proven that it doesn't.

California has had extreme lockdown measures for a long time - including limits on dining - and they are among the states having the worst outbreaks. In addition, a study by the Los Angeles County Health Bureau showed that the risk of a Covid outbreak from dining in a restaurant was fairly low, and that visiting a government building carried at least three times the risk that you had from restaurant dining.

While you can lament that everyone should play by the rules, the rules are being made without any relation to the science behind the transmission of the disease. Wolf loves to say he's "following the science", but doesn't release any data supporting his decisions. That's wrong.

We have a representative government with a separation of powers so that the reasons behind government decisions are debated and have input from the public. The resulting decisions don't come from one man's edict, but from a consensus of our elected officials. Wolf's refusal to relinquish his emergency powers keeps meaningful debate and decision-making from happening.

In addition, you have to remember that while your not dining out for three weeks represents a "small price to pay to keep everyone safe", that's only a small price for YOU. Those who own restaurants (or are employed by them) are paying a HUGE price.

While I don't doubt your generosity to your servers last week, I doubt the "large" tip you left made a meaningful impact as compared to the income being lost by your servers during the current closure. This is usually the busiest time of the year for many restaurants, and restaurant workers (and owners) rely on the additional business to make for a profitable year. And while you might think the closures will be ending after three weeks, I wouldn't want to bet on that given Wolf's erratic behavior. If I remember correctly, he denied for a week that he would impose the current closure right up until a few days before the closure would go into effect (giving restaurants no time to trim their supply orders).

It's easy for our politicians to shut everything down and say they're doing it to keep people safe. But what we need are politicians willing to search for ways to keep people safe AND find ways to keep businesses open.

The current approach is like shutting down our roadways to keep people safe from auto accidents. Or like taking away everyone's driver's license because one person was caught driving drunk. Those "solutions" might save lives, but they're unacceptable solutions. Shutting down businesses without concrete proof that the business has been a problem with Covid transmission should be similarly unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

All I know is what I read in the papers, where I consistently read that gyms and restaurants are the largest sources of infections. I don't understand this outrage over closing down sources of infection that flout the rules. Personally, I get take out and tip generously, and still pay my monthly gym fee although I'm avoiding exposure. Everyone must make sacrifices.

Anonymous said...

I am grateful that Wolf and some other governors have the courage to act to protect the public even when they know that people like this blogger will take cheap shots at second-guessing them. A blogger can masquerade as a crusader all he wants in order to get attention, but it's just the diddling of a nobody while the grownups make the tough decisions.

There's an explanation for why the courts have not stopped Wolf over these many months: he was elected and he's acting within his legal authority to stem a public health crisis. The crybabies are never going to admit that.

Anonymous said...

I am fed up with all of this nonsense and the flexing of government muscle that is largely going unchallenged by the media and people. Too much government is a very bad thing and overreach is occurring daily, most going unchecked. I want to see the data that shows that gyms, health centers, and restaurants are the incubators for the virus. Despite requesting the information, I have received nothing because it doesn’t exist. The governor and his sidekick have decided the two can be closed as part of their little scheme and to make their grandstanding look legitimate. Guess what? I have seen masks on every face I have encountered, witnessed social distancing, curtailed my activity at the expense of my physical and mental health, yet the virus continues. Newsflash: Masks, social distancing, and closures aren’t making any positive difference. We are lemmings and proving we are a people who can be controlled by the government. Frightening.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Thank God for Governor Wolf. At least he is working to ensure the health of the commonwealth and doing a better job then our Federal Government. Governor Wolf is the reason we don’t have a higher death rate."

Whether it is Wolf or Trump. both are out of touch. Trump is a denier while Wolf is oblivious to the damage he is doing to the state economy.

" the rules are being made without any relation to the science behind the transmission of the disease."

The science shows that indoor sites with poor air circulation are where the disease is mist likely to spread. That could be a restaurant, but it could also include any business. A more scientific approach should be directed at facilities where as confined space and poor air circulation make transmission likely. Also, if you close someone down involuntarily in the interest of public health, you should be compensating that person.

Anonymous said...

"... still pay my monthly gym fee although I'm avoiding exposure. Everyone must make sacrifices."

Says an unfeeling jerk with a gym membership who thinks sacrifice is when Netflix loads too slowly. Comfortable scolds are really insipid. They haven't a clue what it takes for some to get by. But thanks for the extra 50 cent tip, you dick.

Anonymous said...

12:27 is dunking on a dead guy who wore a mask and socially distanced - but made the fatal woke mistake of mentioning CDC statistics and saying businesses and schools should reopen. It's important to understand the ghoulishness and hatred of this bilge.

Anonymous said...

Republicans are so phony. They want to ban abortion without regard to the financial ruin that it causes women (predominatly women of color) on the basis of all life being valuable and worthy of protection, but when it comes to a goddamned restaurant being partially closed down in the name of protection of life--for a few weeks-- pro-life doesn't matter. I wish there was an intellectual-consistency meter hovering over peopele's heads.

Anonymous said...

Its such a misguided policy, I was just at the local Giant, packed with elderly people stockpiling for a the small ice/rain storm on Friday. How is that safer than a restaurant that is vigilant about following common sense COVID protocols?

Anonymous said...

Bernie O'Hare said: "The science shows that indoor sites with poor air circulation are where the disease is mist likely to spread. That could be a restaurant, but it could also include any business."


With all due respect, your first sentence isn't science. It's a conclusion that may or may not be based on science, but not science itself.

Science would be giving all business owners precise statistics on what standards and measures of air handling are deemed safe by the government. Business owners could then use those standards as they pertain to their individual buildings to determine the capacity that allows for safe dining in their restaurants.

No two restaurants (or businesses) are the same, and it's unfair to treat them as being the same. I think we've all been in small restaurants where air circulation has been poor, but many others have excellent HVAC systems that are likely better than what many customers have at home.

In any event, what we have now is a blanket edict for the entire state that presumes that 1) all restaurant buildings don't have proper circulation, or 2) it is inherently unsafe for people to dine together.

We know the second statement can't be true, since we don't see covid outbreaks being traced back to restaurants any more than other business establishments (and actually, studies have shown restaurants to have a lower outbreak rate). So that leaves the first statement, which certainly isn't true.

My suspicion is that Wolf and other politicians implementing similar bans aren't looking at the actual science, and remain stuck in a policy position that they adopted nine months ago when little was actually known about the virus and fast action was justified. But by continuing to use the same policies, they're actually ignoring science instead of following it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:23 said: "Republicans are so phony. They want to ban abortion..."


Actually, I believe it's democrats that constantly say "women have the right to choose".

I guess that only applies to killing their babies, and whether to have a meal out.

So spare us the lectures where democrats are somehow not phonies themselves.

Anonymous said...

What does abortion have to do with this? BTW, abortion rates among blacks are 8x that of non-blacks. I guess death beats financial ruin. Your mileage may vary. I wish there was an intellectual-consistency meter hovering over peopele's (sic) heads.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"With all due respect, your first sentence isn't science. It's a conclusion that may or may not be based on science, but not science itself."

It is science. The research shows that microdroplets carrying the virus remain in the air for as long as 20 minutes and spread in places with no ventilation. If you ventilate and wear a mask, the risk is greatly reduced.

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/coronavirus-microdroplets-talking-breathing-spread-covid-19/

This is true of any enclosed environment. If a restaurant is well ventilated and people mask when not eating,that should eliminate the problem.

"We know the second statement can't be true, since we don't see covid outbreaks being traced back to restaurants any more than other business establishments (and actually, studies have shown restaurants to have a lower outbreak rate)."

The second statement is true. There is spread in any establishment that has poor air circulation. As I stated, that could be a restaurant, but applies to any business.

The solution is simply to improve air circulation. That could be as simple as opening a window or two. Yes, the heating bill will go up, but that's better than closing.

Instead of health inspectors, the state should send a few HVAC technicians.

Anonymous said...

The common thread with abortion is that it has to do with protecting life. R's want to force women to have babies and impose significant financial hardships on those women, and the social safety net.

When the government seeks to save life by shutting down a business and imposing tempoary financial hardship on a family, all of the sudden it's a government over-reach?

The issue is the consistency in the respect for life and what is the role of government. To be intellectually consistent, anyone who calls themselves pro-life ought to be in favor of temporary closing of restaurants to protect life.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, some of these assklowns commenting today sound as clueless as Cuomo calling for drug addicts to get the vaccine before the elderly? What the hell kind of statistics is he looking at to make this decision his allowable percentage of the drug sales in his area.

Anonymous said...

1.20
" 2) it is inherently unsafe for people to dine together.

We know the second statement can't be true, since we don't see covid outbreaks being traced back to restaurants any more than other business establishments (and actually, studies have shown restaurants to have a lower outbreak rate)."
well try
https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6936a5.htm
" Adults with positive SARS-CoV-2 test results were approximately twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant than were those with negative SARS-CoV-2 test results."
Guess all those MDs and PHDs are wrong?
And
https://www.livescience.com/covid-19-superspreading-venues-restaurants.html
""Restaurants were by far the riskiest places, about four times riskier than gyms and coffee shops, followed by hotels," Leskovec said in a news conference, according to the Times."

Anonymous said...

If you look up some of the restaurants closed by the State you can see various reasons for it happening.
1)a fish joint that seems to be using masks yet suffers from a lack of space to keep tables far enough apart.
2)a hot dog joint--well now a fine amount of derp here.
No masks, no separation, no attempt to care about Covid at all. The owner posting to bring grandma and the grandkids to sit on Santa's lap. Bragging that he is open even though ordered to close. Posting pictures of no mask wearing staff and being proud of the fact.
In other words Covid is a just a myth.
He then links to a group proud of flouting the closure orders or restrictions.
One video had a reasonable sounding woman defending herself by saying as long as you make more than the fines stay open and then mentioned mask wearing was the start of enforcing the New World Order.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Why not post a link to the video so we can reach our own conclusions instead of your slanted summary?

Anonymous said...

4.41
try
https://www.facebook.com/tasteofsicilypalmyra/videos/238483447632603/?__cft__[0]=AZWOUTCncqa00L3L_wlkXIkyskWJr4XMmijb_O8-lh-5-ZgCKAv2RsZtyhGWaExXmHV6X44R936PdwP8R9c3qfIoZXUc3A3qI-E1E5_OJoOWVizjAZ6F4b0VeOP-VoyHQIy2zkz68vMijVwB83oVC0JBNKPAjWnnig1rXst6YD5twvWSPhLzvk_ZsSEvSG9lTnBpD3zIOGq-uTHzYQu5NNXevbol3bTakG63EKNlmPI7FOfZMtX8GADwOP9ZN4v8ff8&__tn__=-UK-

Bernie O'Hare said...

4:15, Check the data. The problem is that these results are based on a very small percentage of contacts who cooperate with tracers. As I say in the body of my post, the spread is a result of an enclosed indoor environment, which could be any business. It is improper to single out restaurants.

Anonymous said...

4.41
https://www.facebook.com/maddogsmacungie/
"SANTA will be visiting Mad Dogs Macungie on December 12th from noon to 5pm, feel free to sit on SANTAS lap and take pictures!!!"
and
12/24 8.37 am
+ listing for a "peaceful protest"
And
https://www.facebook.com/groups/pennsylvaniaopeningbusinessesdefyingthegovernor/

Anonymous said...

4.50
You are correct on ventilation however the data shows that restaurants have a higher risk.
If a poorly ventilated place (subway car) is a risk that just means both are risky.
two wrongs etc.
PA then says you must meet ventilations specs x.
Even more outrage or is the State supposed to provide this as well?

Bernie O'Hare said...

OK, I agree with your slanted summary. Both of these businesses are playing politics and that alone would be a reason to ignore them.

peterjcochran said...

1 in 5 are ,or have covide in NorCar true or not Bernie?

peterjcochran said...

The 1919 Spanish Fue ran about 27 months.

Anonymous said...

try
https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/judge-in-pa-rejects-restaurants-challenge-of-wolfs-indoor-dining-ban/
"The restaurant plaintiffs also offered no meaningful challenge to scientific conclusions that masking is an effective mitigation measure, Conner wrote, and the state has no obligation to meet the defendants’ demand to produce mathematically precise data to back up the shutdown order.

Even if it did, the data “arguably support defendants’ decision to temporarily suspend indoor dining,” Conner wrote."

Anonymous said...

try
https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/dec/10/laura-ingraham/ingraham-wrongly-claims-no-science-suggests-restau/

Anonymous said...

5.19
So it is reasonable for the State to go after them?
After they directly refuse to close and refuse to take any precautions for the public?
What would be reasonable?

Bernie O'Hare said...

6:30, You are referring to one federal decision. In the one case in which the court actually took evidence (Stickman), Wolf lost. There's very little science behind his decisions. Lots of politics, but no science.

Anonymous said...

7.11
So,
https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/appeals-court-allows-pennsylvania-to-restrict-crowd-size/
"Dickinson said the panel granting the stay must have concluded the government demonstrated a strong showing that it was likely to succeed on the merits since that is one of the considerations it was required to make."

Bernie O'Hare said...

7:38, That's ridiculous because no evidence was taken at all. In tyhe only case in which there actaully was any testimony, Wolf lost.

6:49, I would close a restaurant that defies state orders regarding social distance and masking. That would be reasonable and consistent with the science.

6:41, Laura Ingraham is a biased radio commentator who pays no attention to facts, to say nothing of science. You may like her, and I've actually spoken to her once or twice before she was famous. I consider her sincere but place little stock in her opinions.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"1 in 5 are ,or have covide in NorCar true or not Bernie?"

Not true. As of today, there are 16,380 confirmed cases in a population of 305,285. That is 5.3%. More like 1 out of 20.

Anonymous said...

1 in a thousand Americans have died from Covid
So far

Anonymous said...

I cannot help think about how just a few short years ago the "death panel" bumpersticker was the fashionable claim by the far right. Now, some of these same people want to dismiss the elderly who saw the lives taken because Covid19.

Anonymous said...

Pizza como on stefko blvd had its parking lot packed and no outside tent/dining yesterday at 5:00?

Anonymous said...

Gee, and here I thought that it was the virus that closed these restaurants.

Anonymous said...

I see that the Commonwealth Court just upheld Wolf. He's such a tyrant!

Anonymous said...

Masks don't work. My wife and daughter were very diligent in wearing their masks everywhere, and still got covid. I am mask indifferent, and I am currently covid free.

Anonymous said...

Politics aside @3:26 - he saved lives!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Actually his policies at nursing homes killed a few people. His lockdown enhanced drug use and suicides. I won’t call him a murderer but don’t insult my intelligence with a ridiculous claim like th as t.

Anonymous said...

Yes the restaurants are the reason. They are a high exposure activity and every-time they open them. The numbers go up. The act eating and drinking spreads the virus more than just breathing without a mask

Anonymous said...

11.34
Wolf acted on CDC recommendations dated early March.
Overcrowding hospitals was the fear.
BTW California hospitals are sending their nursing home patients where right now?
So sending stable nursing home residents back to the homes is a reasonable thing to do.
And the timeline had ---
Nursing home association objected in mid April.
And their objection was that they wanted to shove the Covid problem to hospitals to keep their costs down.
For profit nursing homes did not want to pay 7 dollars a mask when they could put someone else on the hook.
The lockdown did have an effect on addiction and suicide but let's be honest it was used an excuse for all the folks who felt they should be allowed to do what and when they wanted to.

Anonymous said...

You are crazy O'Hare. Happy New Year asshole!

Anonymous said...

That's not very nice.

Anonymous said...

How many of the idiots that are crying about wolf were the first in line to demand a shot or immediately ran to the hospital when they got the sniffles. If you are an idiot and did not where a mask or went out freely in public, or went out eating and or whatever and happened to have gotten COVID you should have been sent to the back of the line for treatment and or hospitalization. Just another case or rewarding f'ups, failures and fools for their own stupidity. Even the illustrious hero of so many who called it a hoax, denied it, said it was nothing to worry about, and berated people for worrying about it ran immediately to the best treatment that no one else could get and got a shot far in advance (SECRETLY). What a freaking bunch of hypocrits.

A neighbor said it was nothing and cried about the rules that were and refused to wear a mask, and went every where until he got it. Then he complained that the hospital did not immediately let him in. Eventually he was let in for several weeks mean while his mom got it from him, his mother in law got it, his wife ended up getting it and so did his son. All from him getting it and bringing it into the house. Then he kept complaining that there was not enough being done for any of them. And he demanded others should be following the rules but not him or his friends. His mom and mother in law both ended up passing away from COVID (which he denies). Now he says that there was not enough done to stop the spread but never blames himself for not following any of the rules or bringing it into his own home. A sure picture of a hypocrit.