Rhode Island’s reopening will be micromanaged.

A Friday press release from the office of Governor Daniel McKee inches Rhode Island toward reopening.  It’s actually very difficult to interpret the meaning of the press release, because it’s poorly written and it’s not clear where restrictions have been lifted and where they’re being modified.  But this appears to be the set of changes:

  • Live performers need not mask or socially distance from each other if they are all vaccinated.
  • Hookah bar patrons no longer have to be vaccinated.
  • Saunas and whirlpools can return to normal occupancy, and unvaccinated people can return to them, although they are advised to continuing wearing masks.  (This one made me laugh.)
  • Nightclubs can return to 100% capacity even if they allow unvaccinated people to enter (although they are encouraged to wear masks).

These are all positive advancements, I guess, but the minutia only puts a spotlight on the key question:  Why are we still in a declared state of emergency?

We don’t need a team of bureaucrats poring over regulations and running scenario tests for every type of business.  Either the pandemic calls for a particular level of concern or it does not.  A free, adult society can determine when the level of risk applies.

This process ought to be more like the master switch on your breaker panel than a switch-by-switch review.  Like a homeowner with an old electrical panel, our bureaucrats don’t know everything that’s attached to each switch, and there’s too much opportunity for bias and self-interest to enter the picture if they exert that much control.


Featured image by Troy Bridges on Unsplash.

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