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Gov. Workers Use Gyms and Politicians Can Get Haircuts Indoors, Why Can’t We?

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Due to shelter in place orders, indoor use of gyms as well as hair salons and barbershops have been banned since March for the public, but not for government employees.

This week we saw a very vocal ‘shelter in place’ advocate on the national political stage, caught getting her haircut at an indoor salon in the San Francisco Marina, while not wearing a mask.  Nancy Pelosi, held a press conference afterwards blaming the Salon for ‘setting her up’.  She then pretended not to know that indoor haircuts are currently banned in San Francisco, her home district.  And to make vague promises about opening up the economy.

Footage of Pelosi in an indoor Salon:

Pelosi calls the video a ‘setup’:

It’s clearly a double standard.  Our leaders forbid us to behave in certain ways, while they are allowed to do what they want in private.  Hopefully the silver lining in this embarrassment will lead to the government implementing new safety standards that make more sense.  Namely, if it’s good enough for you Nancy, an 80 year old person in the vulnerable category, it’s good enough for the rest of us to make the same decision.

The double standard in San Francisco doesn’t stop there, this week Mission Local reported the fact that government employees, including SFPD, SFFD, and other government buildings have been using their own indoor gyms this entire time, while all private gyms were ordered to closed in San Francisco as far back as March.

The police, for example argued that their employees need to be physically fit in order to perform their duties, “Sworn SFPD personnel, as a condition of their employment, are required to maintain their physical fitness. This physical fitness requirement is also a mandate of the State of California for all Peace Officers,” reads a statement from the department.

When records were checked to see who else visited the police gym, Mission Local reported, “The names of off-duty workers using the Third Street police gym were redacted from our public records request. It is not yet clear if names belonging to gym-using city employees working for departments other than the SFPD must also be redacted.”

It’s obvious that government frontline workers like police, have been out on the streets, and under threat from infection on a near daily basis.  We get it.  It’s not widely discussed that we have taken a ‘herd immunity’ policy with our critical work forces.  That includes everyone from grocers to nurses to firemen.  We need them to keep working, so they get a different standard.  They should be commended.

But what have we learned from this double standard?  At the Third Street police gym, no more than seven people are allowed in the room at one time; masks are mandatory at all times; and individuals are required to wipe down the machines both before and after use. Workouts of more than 45 minutes are discouraged, and heavy cardiovascular activity is recommended to be done outdoors.

Ok, so the government has standards to keep indoor gyms safe… or just relatively safe?

If those safety guidelines are good enough for our government workers, why are they not good enough for the rest of us?  While, small businesses across the country fail and wither on the vine, the government has been far too slow and too blunt with its restrictions.

If it’s good enough for you Nancy, is it good enough for the rest of us?  Allowing masked individuals to get their haircuts is something worth examining.  Gyms on the other hand…that’s perhaps still for medical experts to decide, and Health Department Director Dr. Grant Colfax did not seem aware of city workers’ ongoing gym use on Friday,  he said “Certainly, this goes against public health advice. I certainly wouldn’t recommend people working out inside, at least in close quarters, at this time.”

It’s a confusing world we live in.  Our police officers can breath on each other all they want, and then hit the streets.  Just don’t ask the Health Department Director about it.

Governor Newsom released a new colored tier system last week, giving more power to the state to shut things down in counties based on their daily new COVID cases.

The ‘blueprint’ to a safe economy:

The new rules come nearly two months after Newsom shut down bars, restaurants for indoor dining and a slew of other businesses following a surge in cases after the state’s first reopening attempt.

As of August 31, 2020, counties in the ‘Widespread (purple) tier’ may open some businesses and activities with modifications, including all retail, shopping centers at maximum 25% capacity, and hair salons and barbershops indoors.  The purple threshold is ‘More than 7 daily new cases (per 100k).

If you’re curious whether a ‘7 per 100k’ is a lot of new cases or a little, San Francisco is considered a city that flattened the curve, and we are averaging 75 new cases a day, according to official numbers at .   Our population in SF is about 880,000.   So our threshold to stay bellow purple tier is about 62 new covid cases a day.   Our current tier is just bellow ‘purple’, while the rest of the state seems to be above purple.

But San Francisco, unlike many of it’s southern neighbors, has kept schools closed, along with any business indoors.  San Francisco is very cautious and strict when it comes to COVID.  And what has that gotten us?  The Fuchsia colored tier, and a very small statistical difference in daily cases.

If you are thinking that it was complicated to figure SF county’s new threshold number, and still very confusing as to what will be allowed to open or close, based on the color and threshold, you are correct, things may still change next week, and the week after that.

Confusion and double standards reign supreme.  Here’s Newsom’s latest proposal in full.

Stay safe out there, wear a mask.

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Alex Mak - Managing Editor

Alex Mak - Managing Editor

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