By: Pat Austin
SHREVEPORT – It does seem like COVID-19 is on the back burner now; with the riots and the protests, nobody is really worried about catching a virus anymore. That whole thing about “groups smaller than ten” and “groups smaller than fifty” sort of vanished.
Here, in Shreveport, we have seen several protests downtown, but they have been peaceful. Saturday, hundreds, maybe over a thousand people, marched through downtown while at the same time the ladies from the United Daughters of the Confederacy held their annual observation of Confederate Memorial Day at the Confederate monument in front of the courthouse. No words were exchanged at all, just everyone practicing their own Constitutional rights.
From a “man on the street” level, it seems that people are just “over” this virus business. Very few of the protesters wore masks and they were by far closer than six feet from each other.
Meanwhile, Governor John Bel Edwards (D) is doing his best to keep his thumb on his people. His restrictions for Phase Two reopening have raised a few eyebrows.
While he has allowed restaurants to reopen, for example, they have moved from 25% occupancy in Phase One to 50% occupancy in Phase Two. Live music is not authorized and dancing is forbidden. (But protests with hundreds of people are okay).
Casinos can reopen, although one of our casinos closed for good during the quarantine. Employees must wear masks but patrons don’t have to. What? One of our casinos has already reported a small Covid outbreak among employees.
Swimming pools can reopen as long as people remain six feet apart.
Apparently the only place that six feet apart rule does not apply is a mass protest in city streets.
There is no guidance whatsoever on the opening of school in August at this time. It is as if nobody needs to make plans or adjustments for this kind of thing. While the CDC has released some initial guidelines for schools, it is unclear whether this applies to schools currently open or if those guidelines are meant for schools opening in the fall. Either way, the guidelines are ridiculously impossible for the most part.
One of those guidelines includes students keeping six feet apart from each other in class and in hallways, which should all be one direction only.
I fail to see the logic in any of it.
If we are so worried about keeping people protected, how are we condoning these protests where all rules, ALL rules, are excluded?
Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.