Lifting Lockdown: Episode 6

Originally posted 19MAY2020

Previously on Lifting Lockdown:

Multiple gyms in the northeast prepared to open REGARDLESS of Governor’s orders.

Ohio gyms prepared for their statewide open.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pressured the Governors of other states to loosen their lockdowns as well, calling the lockdowns “draconian.”

Tonight is the big one in Lifting Lockdown. Tonight, we discuss the opening of those gyms, how governors reacted, how law enforcement reacted, and what it looks like going forward. We will discuss the virus more broadly, as well.

1.) Baselline —- On Sunday, the US Health Secretary said that there has not been a spike in states that have opened. This is surely crushing to people still looking for the surge Georgia was prophesied to have. — Meanwhile, in an email to members, LA Fitness announced that it would open its Georgia facilities this coming Friday.

2.) States Fights: Before we get to the recap, a quick summary of news from around the country. —- [H/T Brody Kennen] —- NOLATAC brings us this story of a gym in Las Vegas, CrossFit Apollo, opening with overkill sanitation protocols, basically no money, and a visit by multiple police officers. The gym’s co-owner, Monica Cole, wrote about the incident on Facebook. —- The gym is now preparing for legal action. — [H/T Collin Whitney] — A series of gyms in Pasadena, CA are making the case for opening their facilities in lockdown, noting the cleanliness and safety that small, controlled buildings provide in terms of the health of those in the building. — [H/T Reed Mazzie] —- A judge in Oregon has taken the Wisconsin approach of axing Stay At Home orders with apparent immediate effect.

Alright, let’s do this.

3.) Monday recap. We’ll do this by gym, in alphabetical order. First up, Atilis Gym, Bellmawr, New Jersey. —- Leading in with this story from ABC 6 in Philly about businesses struggling to stay afloat while being locked down. —— This is from before the gym opened, as supporters gathered outside. —- [H/T Joe Rittenhouse] —- “Formally, you’re all in violation of an executive order. That being said, stay safe and have a good day.” The first interaction with law enforcement. —- The full details on that first interaction. —- This is a taping of an interview with the local FOX station. — The Governor of New Jersey, offered a carefully worded statement, saying he would enforce the order, but wouldn’t start “World War 3.” —- That came in the form of a court summons. In a statement on Facebook, Atilis owner Ian Smith said “there is a possibility our members and staff will be issued those same summons – up to $1,000 fine and 6 months in jail. We will open our doors regardless. Our lawyer has not only agreed to protect us, but our staff and members as well.” —- GoFundMe —- A GoFundMe has been set up for the occasion. —- They reopened again on Tuesday, and were cited again on Tuesday. Odds are they’ll open again on Wednesday.

On the subject of wasting time prosecuting, let’s move on to PREP Fitness in Hermitage, PA. A quote from the DA:

“In the scope of the number of cases and their severity I could not justify the resources necessary to prosecute several dozen summary offenses, equivalent to the traffic ticket, on a recalcitrant business owner.”

Next up, PwrBld in Conshohocken, PA.
In two separate IG stories posted yesterday, PwrBld Gym owner Collin Whitney noted that he “almost feel more excited today” than he did on the gym’s original opening day, and that there hasn’t been much pushback.

In fact, a number of new members to the gym ARE law enforcement:
“I would say half of the [new members] are law enforcement, first responders of some kind. These people need the gym. When you work in a high-stress environment, the gym is your stress relief; it keeps you physically healthy, but also mentally healthy. How gyms weren’t considered to be essential, it blows my mind.”

There is a gym in Scarsdale, New York that seems to be gearing up for its own opening regardless of the Governor there, Iron Vault. But I’m waiting for more info on that one.

Third Coast Strength Solutions: [Kudos and congrats to Ram Hernandez] —- Gyms in Texas opened state-wide yesterday. A lot of media types tried to tie a surge in cases to the reopening the same day. That “surge” was due to increased testing in and around Amarillo, Texas. Not due to reopening.

Transcend Fitness: —- And finally, Transcend Fitness in Bucks County, PA.

4.) Closing thoughts. We will continue to watch all of the gyms posted above, but one common thread is forming as far as criticism.

Nobody wants to talk about WHY the gyms are opening, or why the cleanliness standard that is applied (and passed) to gyms doesn’t apply to other businesses. The logic usually goes like this:
1.) “We can’t have gyms open because they aren’t clean.” (SOLE issue of cleanliness posited as the issue.)
2.) The gyms are practically drowning in disinfectant. It’s certainly cleaner than most Walmarts (SOLE issue RECTIFIED.)
3.) “But Walmarts are essential. They have food.” (SOLE issue CHANGED because reasons.) —- As this fear-mongering trash from shows us, this is usually followed with some sort of hand-wavy “I understand people are hurting, and many businesses won’t make it.” All it took was a government decree and people don’t really care that much for the fact that half their city is losing everything. It’s a “small price to pay,” and merely “frustrating.”

This is unacceptable. If the sole issue is taken care of, there is no reason to backpedal to some other reason for the sole purpose of keeping a business closed. Furthermore, if people are hurting, and the damage is preventable, there is no reason to keep hurting people for a series of fast-changing rationalizations.

Effective this Friday, Georgia will have been largely open for 4 weeks. We have not seen the surge that was promised, and businesses are looking after themselves and their customers.

Fear, not any sort of logic, is keeping these businesses closed. COVID-19 is not some strange disease that somehow doesn’t impact Wal-Mart but will absolutely destroy a PwrBld or other small, controlled facility.

The fact that some are waving off a ton of businesses simply going under should be terrifying. It is fatalism writ large for a virus that does not deserve such fatalism, as the virus can be wiped out (depending on the product, quite literally) with any EPA-registered disinfectant.

The logic of “essential vs. non-essential” has broken down. The arguments for keeping businesses closed has, as well. The arguments against PwrBld and others changing to “well, they’re still non-essential” (a ridiculous proposition), is proof of that.

Lifting the lockdown will prevent further damage. We cannot in one breath say “we’re all in this together” and in the next, come up with a series of reasons why someone will just have to deal with losing everything, waving it off as “frustrating.” — Or we can wait, and risk everything for a virus that isn’t anywhere near as deadly as feared.

The arguments in favor of that proposition should be interesting. — [H/T Joe Rittenhouse] — But even if the arguments are as boring as they have been, as the Mises Institute points out, citizens may destroy the lockdown on their own.

Congrats to the gyms opening this week.

I look forward to seeing how all of the gyms evolve, regardless of whether they are lifting under lockdown.

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