Significantly More Pushback Seen During Latest COVID Lockdown
Unlike earlier in the spring and summer, the Mid Columbia (and even Spokane) are seeing much more resistance to Gov. Inslee's latest lockdown.
A number of area restaurants/bars are pushing back, including Koko's Bartini in Kennewick, Kimo's Sportsbar and Restaurant Sterling's Restaurant, and area gyms too.
Club 24 has followed the lead taken by the Tri City Court Club, and has taken the steps to be designated as as "wellness" clinic, making them immune from this latest lockdown. Some call it a clever use of loopholes, but the moves have been met with positive feedback.
Koko's Bartini held a 'resistance' event, which included staying open for indoor service despite Inslee's 'ban.' In addition, we've seen hints of similar resistance from Kimos, and Sterling's pushed back as well.
In the case of Sterling's they were threatened with Labor and Industries fines that could exceed $30K and while they have closed indoor dining, are still pursuing legal avenues. Celski Law of Kennewick has offered Pro Bono legal services to any business who defies Inslee's latest lockdown. It appears the resistance, initially really spearheaded by Sterling's has rubbed off on other merchants.
A large non compliance protest Sunday at John Dam Plaza spilled over to a mini protest at the home of the primary Liquor Control Board agent whom several business have told us is the person 'visiting' various venues that trying to shut them down--or threatening them.
These are all efforts we have not seen in the past, and they appear to be gaining momentum. Also, Nov. 5th the chief medical officer for the Spokane County Health District, Dr. Bob Lutz, was fired by the Spokane County Health Board.
The Spokesman Review Newspaper says Lutz plans to pursue all legal avenues to get his job back, but even Mayor Nadine Woodward was quoted as saying the firing "was the best news I've heard in a long time."
This firing does not appear to be "personal" or vengeful, but out of frustration over two factors: Spokane County seemingly staying "stuck" in Phase 2, and Woodward said "Important community decisions are being made by a single entity," obviously referring to Lutz. She also cited lack of communication, and other factors as well.
Woodward's quote echoes what we've heard locally, and in other counties as well. Officials, business owners, and citizens are frustrated (even furious) that one government official has the power to 'call all the shots' when it comes to counties moving up in Phases, or re opening schools-businesses. Their direction, to a degree, does come down from WSDOH.
Locally, several Benton and Franklin County Commissioners have said they wish to pursue a different platform for the Benton Franklin Health Department. Instead of a single Chief Health Officer, they wish to see a multi-physician group who would consider any and all information pertaining to emergency situations such as what we're facing with COVID.
No idea if this will 'officially' be presented, but it is certainly being discussed, and there is a definite buzz going around about it.