Weld County’s defiance came days before news broke that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is “furious” because a Brooklyn synagogue held a secret wedding.
Colorado officials last week announced that several counties had moved into the “red level”—the second-highest measurement on its COVID-19 dial—and would be forced to implement new regulations on restaurants, gyms, and other parts of the economy to combat the virus.
Then something remarkable happened. Weld County, a county in the northern part of the state with a population of roughly a quarter million people, politely said no.
“Instead, county government continues to do what it has done since March, which is promote and encourage residents and business owners to take individual responsibility and make decisions to protect themselves, their families, their community and their businesses,” the Board of Commissioners said in a statement.
With a test-positivity rate north of 16 percent, Weld County’s infection rate is well above the 5 percent threshold the World Health Organization uses as a benchmark for taking proactive measures to limit the spread of the virus. Nevertheless, county officials enumerated what they would not do.
“The county will not enforce a rule confining individuals to their homes for an undetermined length of time;
the county will not enforce a rule that states residents cannot have personal gatherings;
the county will not tell the school districts how to provide education to their students;
the county will not enforce a rule requiring a reduction of attendees in places of worship;
the county will not enforce a rule demanding restaurants close their indoor dining areas;
the county will not enforce any rule that forces a business to shut down or impedes their ability to operate.”
Weld County’s defiance came just days before news broke that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is “furious” because a Brooklyn synagogue reportedly held a secret wedding earlier this month “with thousands of unmasked guests” in attendance.
“If that happened, it was a blatant disregard of the law,” Cuomo said in a briefing. “It’s illegal. It was also disrespectful to the people of New York.”
Reports say the synagogue, the Yetev Lev temple in WIlliamsburg, has been fined $15,000.
In Buffalo, New York, a protest of some 50 business owners (and supporters) at a local gym turned into a tense confrontation when a health inspector and deputies arrived (apparently after receiving an anonymous complaint) and refused to leave.
According to the Buffalo News, neither the health inspector nor the deputies would specify what rules the gym owner or those in attendance had broken. Authorities eventually left without issuing citations as protesters chanted “Get Out! Get Out!”
The gym’s owner, Robby Dinero, said the gathering was old-fashioned civil disobedience against lockdowns.
“It absolutely was a protest” said Dinero, adding that enforcement of restrictions has been “arbitrary.”
The defiance against lockdowns has been a long time coming.
The reality is, enforcement of social distancing regulations has been arbitrary. We’ve watched over and over again as politicians have flaunted their own orders without penalty. We’ve seen social distancing exceptions made when a political cause was deemed important or simply worth celebrating.