They’ve had enough. New York restaurants were through with the COVID lockdown regime enacted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo; whose state was one of the hardest hit by the virus. Once again, the governor decided to shutter bars and restaurants despite the overwhelming evidence that COVID spread is from the household, not these locations. Almost 75 percent of new cases stem from households. Ironically, the orders keeping us inside is what’s killings us. Gyms, bars, restaurants, hair salons, and barbershops is not where this virus is spreading. Bars and restaurants account for 1.4 percent of COVID spread. Gyms and places to get your haircut are a whopping one percent. These are all low-risk areas. It’s time to stop this economic assault against the hospitality industry especially.
Well, a group of restaurants banded together to fight this order and won. They can reopen. They argued the order was arbitrary and not grounded in reality, which a judge found convincing (via Daily Caller):
Cuomo implemented a “Micro-Cluster” strategy to control the spread of coronavirus that designated various areas of the state as red, orange, or yellow zones. Red zones, or areas that were considered coronavirus hot-spots, were subject to the most restrictive rules. Orange zones were the areas directly surrounding the red zones and were the second-most restrictive, and yellow zones were the least restrictive. The DOH monitored data on testing and hospitalizations and used contact tracing to determine the geographic boundaries for the red, orange, and yellow zones.
Most of Erie County, where the restaurants that filed the lawsuit are located, was designated as an orange zone on Nov. 18. Under the orange zone’s restrictions, restaurants and bars were prohibited from serving food or beverages on site.
Judge Nowak also said that the criteria for whether an area is classified as an orange or yellow zone are not distinctive enough. In order for an area to be classified as a yellow zone, the 7-day rolling positivity average for 10 days had to be above 2.5% – but if that number exceeded 3%, the area was classified as an orange zone. “One could envision a scenario where the 7-day rolling average positivity for ten days in a specified area rose and fell above and below the 3 % figure on a daily basis,” the judge wrote.
Luckily, with the midnight domestic achievement of Operation Warp Speed under President Trump, we have two vaccines that have been approved and being distributed as we speak. Another one from Johnson and Johnson could be approved by the end of the month. The J&J vaccine, unlike the ones by Pfizer and Moderna, doesn’t require two injections. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but economic devastation will be vast.