For those of you who consider coronavirus news/warnings to range from overstated to fake news —and those who are pretty sure Covid-19 is no worse than a cold or flu — heck, just keep gathering in groups, keep sharing restroom facilities and food and drinks at your big backyard parties and neighborhood get-togethers on the street.
Same goes for your street basketball games taking place in front yards.
You might as well. It does not appear Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope, the Lubbock City Council or Lubbock Chief of Police Floyd Mitchell will issue officers any real authority, or orders, to police any stay-at-home policies.
One wonders, do enough people care about what we need to do to fight this? Have they paid attention to how the numbers of people with the virus in Lubbock has gone from single digits to more than 100 in just a few days? Do they understand how it’s transmitted?
Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope restricted gatherings to 200 people, then 50 people, then 10 people and now 0 (zero) people. The first time he announced that people could face fines. When he was asked how much fines would be, he sidestepped and just said he expects people to act like adults.
Well, thousands of Lubbock adults just ignored and defied him.There have been reports of parties next door, parents allowing children to invite fellow classmates to sleep-overs, large gatherings in parks and streets, plenty of places where strangers or large groups of friends would be sharing restrooms and, I assume, consuming foods touched by others.
And those threatened fines? Did law enforcement ever even mention the word “fine?”
At least one police officer posted on Facebook that officers will become involved only if there is a problem with the virus (viral suspects) impeding traffic.
There’s no such thing as a travel permit, so officers naturally will not hassle citizens with those kinds of steps.
I am thinking that, instead of calling for similar press conferences, Mayor Pope might stop going off script and urging people to play some more golf.
And Lubbock media/reporters need to start asking tougher questions and find out more specifically what will or will not be closed or left open. And for what —if anything at all — will fines be administered?
Yes, I am certain officers would rather chase more obviously dangerous criminals, unless instructed otherwise.
Who even has the authority to hand out fines or disperse groups of people? And how much are these fines and will there be a public accounting of how much has been collected?
A lot of people told me the drive-in movie screens should be kept open, but Stars and Stripes Drive-in owner Ryan Smith explained there was still the viral safety-oriented problem of customers sharing restroom facilities.
At the least, social gatherings would have the same problem. But it appears all that is fine as long as traffic flow remains smooth.
So party on, Lubbock.
And don’t miss a tee time with friends.