Arlington Scraps Sidewalk Restrictions

Recent Arlington sidewalk scene. OMG, they’re not even wearing masks! Image credit: ARLnow.com

by James A. Bacon

Apparently, motorcycle riders and MAGA hat wearers are not the only people who resist complying with measures to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Yesterday the Arlington County Board repealed its ordinance restricting sidewalk gatherings after it was met “with defiance, confrontation and hostility,” reports the Washington Post.

The Board enacted the restriction in July at the height of the COVID-19 panic. The ordinance made it illegal for more than three people in a group to congregate in certain areas. The goal was to limit crowding as patrons waited for tables inside occupancy-limited bars and restaurants. The crowding is worst between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.

“Arlington police have determined that it is impractical to cite hundreds of violators at night,” said board member Christian Dorsey. “They have prioritized encouraging compliance and have not issued a single citation. I don’t see any reason to continue having something on the books that clearly doesn’t work.”

The COVID case rate in Arlington County has ticked higher this month, which county health officer Travis Gayles attributes to residents becoming less diligent about wearing masks and observing social distancing, and to gathering in large groups over the weekend.

Reminder: 76% of Arlington County voters cast ballots for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Also, the people congregating on sidewalks between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. skew younger, and young people tilt to the left of the political spectrum.

I’m betting this will never become a national story like the Sturgis motorcycle rally. Any takers?

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32 responses to “Arlington Scraps Sidewalk Restrictions

  1. I don’t think “liberals” like the masks any more than conservatives, but they actually do believe the science even when they do things they know better.

    People – ALL kinds, are not happy about the restrictions the virus has imposed on us. Some know it’s the virus and others need someone to blame.

    The thing is, the virus don’t care about your politics, even if you don’t think mask wearing reduces the infection rate.

    Too many folks keep thinking if the rate goes down – it means the virus is ending – as opposed to accepting that mask-wearing and social distancing are how to manage the virus spread.

    What the virus has exposed – is US – everyone has got an opinion these days and it’s not always a pretty sight!

    Interesting article: ( Northam approval drops big time):

    https://patch.com/virginia/fredericksburg/s/h8ud5/approval-of-northams-handling-of-coronavirus-outbreak-plummets?utm_source=nearby-news&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=alert

    • MAGA, DTDT.

    • The Post has some work ahead of it. It’s needs to lie and distort to whatever extent necessary to get Virginians back in line supporting Northam. Hell, they were able to make sure his blackface activities were forgotten. They’ll figure out what to do to fix this one too.

      • Did they call anywhere outside Hampton Roads when they polled? 🙂 Did they just call Kerry 100 times? I’ve got plenty of policy differences with this administration, but the more I compare its COVID response to other states, the more comfortable I am that a middle road was taken. But Northam cannot run for governor again. Perhaps he would seek a cabinet post in Washington for President Harris.

        Now, this business in the last couple of days of suddenly “finding” a whole bunch of death certificates that hadn’t been recorded is concerning. Like, almost 200 in three days? Sadly it means that even more so than before, it is clear the tracking and the stats are badly flawed. Will our bird dog media dig into this? Naaaah.

    • Larry your go to statement is that those who don’t align with your political thinking are anti-science. That is making science political, the problem with that is, you don’t understand or know science.

  2. As a former resident of Arlington I have to admire their libertarian leanings. In many ways, Arlington is the most successful “at scale” area in Northern Virginia. Kind of a Jim Bacon paradise of mass transit, population density, walkable urbanism, mixed use commercial & residential, etc. But Arlington has a problem. COVID-19. My son and his fiancee were living in one of the new “high rise” apartment buildings when COVID struck. They had been walking to work, movies, bars, restaurants, etc. When they wanted to go to DC they hopped on the Metro. But it all came at a price – expensive rent for a small apartment. Along came COVID, work from home, closed theaters, bars and restaurants and *BANG* … no value in that expensive apartment. In fact, it started to get pretty cramped pretty quick. The lease expired and they decided to move back home while they save money to buy a home. Bottom line – Arlington better figure out how to keep as much of the attractiveness of living in Arlington going through the remainder of this pandemic. Writing endless citations for people gathering outside of restaurants would be badly counter-productive. I’d be much more in favor of enforced quarantine than handing out citations. Mandatory random testing to enter risky businesses. You test positive, you get an ankle bracelet for 15 days (or until you test negative) and go into “house arrest”. People can take the chances they want to take but they have to do the right thing of they get infected.

    As for liberals vs conservatives – the idea that conservatives are anti-science, anti-mask is crap put forward by a thoroughly corrupt main stream media. How long did it take the woke, liberal, science loving college students to start seeing mass infections after returning to campus. Never believe the MSM.

  3. Yeah, its not politically sound for government enforcers to directly cite individuals; best for spinless politicians to stick that responsibility on employers

    The scientific method is one of the best, if not the best tool, devised by humans (special thanks to the Bacon’s.) Without it, I doubt we’d have Adam Smith or today’s kinda’ sorta’ freeish like markets.

    Like many things, “science” gets abused by people in pursuit of power over others.

  4. The liberals that don’t do masks know they done wrong, The anti-maskers don’t think it was wrong to not wear in the first place – their “rights” trump science.. always…

    • “LarrytheG | September 17, 2020 at 1:54 pm | Reply
      The liberals that don’t do masks know they done wrong, The anti-maskers don’t think it was wrong to not wear in the first place – their “rights” trump science.. always…”

      One of if not the most childish and asinine statements you’ve ever uttered.

      You have zero comprehend as to why people do or don’t wear masks and it has nothing to do with political bend.

      Individuals rights are equal to that of anyone else’s, it’s personal responsibility and or compassion that should drive people to wear mask, not dictator wannabe’s (ie you).

  5. Ooooooh. Harsh, very harsh… But accurate nonetheless

    • ow ow ow… 😉

      you gotta admit, not too many liberals whine about the masks…and their “rights”, right?

      yeah, I know the anti-maskers have all kinds of excuses…masquerading as attacks on others… 😉

      • I don’t go around asking people their political leanings because that’s not who they are.

        So again the notion that you have any idea of what a person believes politically is absurd.

        Oh I’m totally an anti-masker, since I’ve been wearing one before you because I’m married to a medical professional.

    • Deep state Liberal?

      https://image.cnbcfm.com/api/v1/image/106705269-16002777682020-09-16t170536z_2031260167_rc2tzi9ystp2_rtrmadp_0_health-coronavirus-usa-senate.jpeg?v=1600277803

      Yes, was a bit flip to generally categorize Conservatives as anti-mask and Liberals as pro-maks. Both sides do have exceptions. So apologies to those who were insulted.

      But – typically there seems to be an argument that people have a “right” to not wear a mask and the counter argument is that there is also a responsibility associated with “rights” to not risk infecting others and from there these days, it blows up!

      To give a more clear example. Every now and then, I pull up to the gas pumps and someone has a cigarette. Yeah, I know, this is really, really dumb behavior but I’ve seen it more than a few times.

      I’m not sure what the law is or if a sign that says “no smoking” actually is based on a law but if I can, I leave, if I’m stuck there, I’m grabbing my butt and hoping.

      So.. the question is, in my mind, Does the govt have the right to determine what is irresponsible behavior that risks others and mandate that you cannot do that?

      The key question here is – does the govt have that right or it does not and it’s up to each of us to be responsible and not engage in behaviors and activities that could harm others?

      And if you ask this question of people (without discussing the gas pump situation) – just in a generic scenario – do people answer yes or no or “it depends” and is there any difference between what Conservatives would say and Liberals?

  6. Arlington’s test positivity score has been below 6% for like three months and is now right at 4%. The line is flat. Flat. People up there have data to back of their feeling that the worst is behind them. We’ve all figured the odds if we are not in a nursing home or prison, and are not fat, hypertensive or diabetic. Input that data and the death rate really is infinitesimal. You are in greater danger driving to the bar. So people are ready to move on…..

    But the Fear Porn will continue until November…

    Did you hear Dr. Oliver Tuesday at the Guv’s news conference? The question he was asked was about reporting by the state on K-12 school related outbreaks. As he stepped to the podium he turned to Northam and whispered, “uh, we don’t have any of those.” The mic picked it up, but it wasn’t part of his official answer so it didn’t get reported. “WE DON’T HAVE ANY OF THOSE.”

    • re: “moving on”… does that mean stop the masks and social distancing or what?

      I’m afraid that when folks see lower positivity – they’re thinking the virus is over rather than the masks and social distancing being effective.

      I note, for instance, this” It wasn’t a particularly scintillating case, but a jury trial held in Stafford Circuit Court Wednesday was the first one held in the area since March.

      Stafford was one of only four localities in the state—and the only one in the Fredericksburg area—that were recently granted permission from the Virginia Supreme Court to resume conducting jury trials in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”

      is this “fear porn? for the courts in Va to just now going back to jury trials?

      https://fredericksburg.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/stafford-holds-first-jury-trial-in-fredericksburg-area-since-pandemic-began-in-march/article_98fb99b4-ec46-5fa9-99c3-8391334c3133.html

      • Up there it is over. In NYC it is over. Right now is is a quiet as it has been in a long time. College kids are driving case numbers but they almost never get sick and they really don’t die. You can find me an outlier here and there, but I bet more die on campus this fall from other causes.

        Tens of millions have had this and didn’t even know it. I’m not dropping my guard, I’m just saying I can see why young people at infinitesimal risk are ignoring the masks and distancing. Even you and Nancy Boy seem to be losing steam with your hysteria.

        • Oh I think you’re wrong… If you were right – sports would all go back to full stadiums… no? Is “fear porn” keeping stadiums from full crowds? Cruise ships? Conventions? Casinos, etc?

          Are you going on a European river vacation yet?

          • “fear porn” isn’t keeping people from dining in at the restaurants that have opened their dining rooms back up.

          • Actually, that is the perfect example of how effective the fear campaign has been. If all the health officials say, sure, you are okay in a restaurant that is at only 50% capacity, why are they staying away? Actually, I’ve seen some restaurants with indoor patrons, more than a month ago.

            I’m not booking something until it is clear the travel is allowed. I expect we will.

          • I thought that part of the hubbub was who decides what is “allowed” and are they to be believed or have the authority to deny you something you want to do?

            Aside from that – look around beyond the restaurant situation. Do you think you’re going to be in a full stadium of people anytime soon? How about a DMV? or go to a government meeting or for that matter a full courtroom or dozens of other congregate venues?

            Are all of those places unreasonably restricted or closed because of “fear porn”?

            I think there is a divergence here between what folks want to believe – and a reality that is still pretty real.

          • “… why are they staying away?”

            Logic and observation. Sure, schools opened and *boom*! So, how badly do I want that steak?

            Let’s take off our masks, sit down in a small, relatively speaking, room with unmasked strangers and open our mouths.

          • They aren’t staying away. People are dining in at every restaurant that will allow it.

          • well no, not everyone is going to full sit-down indoor restaurants.

            And even the ones that do are not going to full-auditorium events, or a wide variety of other congregate venues.

            Folks are pretending here that if the restaurants are “open” that the virus is either a hoax or it’s winding down – and science is telling us that masks and social distancing are what is keeping the numbers down – while others are saying since the restaurants are back open – the virus is winding down or some such.

            People believe what they want to believe despite the clear realities.

          • Fear porn??

            2020 — Restaurants
            1981 — Turkish Baths

        • shush… we’re in special session… we got more anti-business regulations to pass… must buy more time. we’ll ramp up testing after Doddering Joe is anointed, I mean elected… the science is clear

          • All I know is that many government meetings are still virtual and we’re being told the reason is “fear porn”… gawd…

  7. It’s increasingly difficult to understand what Democrats actually believe about masks.

    “After urging Virginians to wear masks when in public, Gov. Ralph Northam acknowledged he should have worn one himself while visiting Virginia Beach on Saturday.”

    https://richmond.com/special-report/coronavirus/northam-faces-criticism-for-virginia-beach-visit-without-a-mask-covid-19-cases-increase-by/article_cebace6b-e8f7-5810-b076-bb6bdbd02968.html

    ‘Mr. wear your mask not wearing a mask’: Janice Dean posts photos of maskless Andrew Cuomo in Georgia

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/mr-wear-your-mask-not-wearing-a-mask-janice-dean-posts-photos-of-maskless-andrew-cuomo-in-georgia

    “CNN’s Kaitlan Collins gives lecture about masks, and then removes hers when she thought cameras were off.”

    https://mobile.twitter.com/1776Stonewall/status/1306450363365707777

    • The position of democrat politicians on the mask issues is pretty much the same as it is for any rule, regulation, restriction or mandate: YOU shall do what you are TOLD to do. We will do what we want to do.

      And, while that mindset is not unique to democrat politicians I think it is more prevalent among them than it is among others.

      • What the he!!? The last part of my comment is missing. It went something like this:

        This mindset is by no means unique to democrat elites, but I think it is more prevalent among them simply because they tend to favor placing more and greater restrictions on individual freedom than the corrupt and elitist politicians from the other main party.

  8. re rules:

    Yep, when you “suggest” that sending kids to school without vaccinations is not good and get an FU back – you go to rules.

    Same when you suggest that Red at a stoplight means stop.

    Or burning trash in the backyard is not good…

    or dumping oil in the ditch…

    setting up gun practice the backyard….

    etc, etc…

    damn rules for sure… we’d surely be better off if we were Hati or some other _hit hole country, eh

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