The dubious claim was made by Hogan while he announced further coronavirus pandemic restrictions on Monday.
“It’s sort of like saying I have a constitutional right to drive drunk. I have a constitutional right to not wear a seat belt, or to yell fire in a crowded movie theater, or to not follow the speed limit,” Hogan said.
“We’re talking about a quarter of a million people dying already. You know, more than, you know, the Korean War, the Gulf War and the Vietnam War added together. Which part don’t you understand?” he asked rhetorically.
“There’s no constitutional right to walk around without a mask,” Hogan added, “this is, we did it in 1918, I don’t know why we can’t do it now. Wear the mask.”
Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes announced Thursday that his deputies are not responding to calls over masks and social gatherings under Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest stay-at-home order.
Newsom issued a new partial lockdown order scheduled to take effect on Saturday night to combat the coronavirus. Barnes responded to the announcement by saying that his already stretched department would not rigorously enforce new regulations over masking and crowd sizes.
“Earlier today, the Orange County sheriff’s department became aware of a limited Stay at Home Order that Governor Newsom’s office ordered to go into effect on Saturday, November 21 at 10 PM,” Barnes said in a statement. “Throughout the pandemic, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department has taken an education-first approach with regard to the public health orders. We are currently assessing the action by the governor. At this time, due to the need to have deputies available for emergency calls for service, deputies will not be responding to requests for face-coverings or social gatherings-only enforcement.”
Restaurants owners are expressing frustration with the Shelby County Health Department directive released Friday evening, worried the latest round of restrictions will deter people from dining out.
The directive, which takes effect Monday, requires restaurants and bars to close at 10 p.m. and caps them at 50% capacity as opposed to the 75% capacity they’re currently allowed.
Other notable restrictions include a six-person-per-table limit and a requirement that restaurant patrons wear masks in between bites and sips.
“I feel like the health department treats everybody like children,” said Halsey Werlein, general manager of Pontotoc Lounge on South Main.
“I don’t know how we’re gonna have somebody at each table right after they take a bite or they take a sip, have them pull up their mask,” Werlein said.
It’s a concern shared by other restaurant owners.
“We’re doing everything that we can and, you know, this is a burden on us,” said Memphis Restaurant Association President-elect Mike Miller, who also owns Patrick’s.
As J.D. Tuccille notes, this sort of double standard is par for the course during the COVID-19 epidemic, when politicians such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.), Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D), Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (D), and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D–Calif.) have felt free to flout the disease control safeguards that mere mortals are told to observe. “We’re expected to suffer discomfort, economic pain, and emotional distress or else pay fines and even serve jail time,” Tuccille writes. “Government officials, meanwhile, take offense when called out for violating the standards they created.”
While Newsom did not take offense, he did offer excuses, and he did not acknowledge that he was breaking the law he had laid down—not merely its “spirit,” but its specific requirements. “We certainly hope Gov. Gavin Newsom and his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, enjoyed their dinner at the Michelin-starred restaurant,” The Sacramento Bee editorialized. “Because it will end up costing a lot more than $700 in terms of damage to Newsom’s credibility in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nothing will launder the stain of stupidity from his reputation after this ill-conceived outing.”
The paper also noted that Newsom’s children are attending private school while most public schools remain shuttered. “Newsom and the First Partner eschewed state public health guidelines to dine with friends at a time when the governor has asked families to scale back Thanksgiving plans,” the Bee observed. “If the governor can eat out with friends—and if his children can attend their expensive school—why must everyone else sacrifice?”