Coffee With COVID 

Monday, May 11th, 2020

Yesterday in Colorado, the C & C Coffee and Kitchen chose to open for Mother’s Day, in defiance of a government order prohibiting eat-in dining. Apparently, hundred of Coloradans joined them in this ill-conceived endeavor. As justification, restaurant owner April Arellano stated:

We did our time. We did our two weeks. We did more than two weeks…and we were failing. We had to do something.”

I sympathize deeply with businesses that are hurting financially. However, that doesn’t make it any less irresponsible to put the community at risk. Further, this economic argument loses its weight when the restaurant chooses to employ no safety measures, failing to require masks or any distancing between patrons. They also showed their foolishness with a sign on the door reading:

“ATTENTION: Our freedom doesn’t end where your fear begins.…If you are afraid to be within 6 feet of another person, do not enter this business!”

This is a complete bastardization of the common aphorism that “your liberty to swing your fist ends just where my nose begins”. The point of that saying is that even in a free society, the rights of an individual are necessarily limited by the rights of others.

There are reasonable debates to be had about just how much control the government should exert to protect its citizens, and at what costs. However, this phrase might more appropriately be updated to something like “your liberty to congregate ends when a contagious virus threatens to kill your fellow countrymen”. At issue here isn’t the fear of other citizens, it’s their right to life and health, to not be infected due to the selfish actions of others.

Arellano’s supporters tried to defend her with compliments, including one woman who said “the coffee is to die for.”

That might well turn out to be literally true.


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