Governor Hogan Closes Bars, Restaurants, Movie-Theaters and Gyms EXCEPT for Carry-Out, Drive-Through & Delivery.
Governor Hogan just closed down all bars, restaurants, movie theaters and gyms except for carry-out, delivery and drive-through. In his press conference, “the full weight of the law”is behind this move to protect our state and our residents and visitors. For us here in Ocean City, St. Patrick’s Day is the beginning of our season. Businesses depend on the season opening to get the much needed influx of cash to carry on their daily activities, providing rooms, food, beer, drinks, and entertainment to all of us that enjoy this East Coast destination. This is a trying time but one that we can get through if we work together.
Our Clients, Our Friends, and Our Lives are Already Being Affected by this Virus.
As CEO of StateVentures, the publisher of OceanCity.com and Shore Craft Beer, I can tell you that our clients, our friends, and our lives are affected by this virus. I have friends that have already been laid off. We have clients whose business survival depends on the money they can bring in early in the season. We have other clients that can weather a short-term hiatus, but not one that lasts all summer. Nobody can buy toilet paper.
Our leadership at the state and local level are helping us survive the crisis, not putting undue burdens on our businesses. The virus has done that. I believe that it is our responsibility to follow the rules to not only keep from catching this virus ourselves, but to prevent the spread to other areas of our state and our nation. This is a virus that is already in the United States and in Maryland. The experts say that if we can slow the spread, by following the rules and maintaining social distancing, that we can prevent the overwhelming demand on our medical system so that our healthcare providers don’t have to choose who lives and who dies because they don’t have enough rooms or ventilators for everybody who needs them.
Some believe that they can keep doing business as usual and that if they get fined, that’s OK. They will just pay the fines and ignore the Governor’s declarations. They may even feel that their business depends on their ability to stay open. That is irresponsible, let alone criminal. I don’t believe that I am likely to get sick and if I do, I am not in any high-risk category so I do not fear for my personal safety. However, if, by my ignoring the rules, I were to catch the virus and spread it to others before I even know I have the disease, I would be devastated. One sick person spreads the virus to approximately 3 other people. Those 3 people in turn spread it to 3 each, totaling 9. Those 9 spread it to 3 each again, on average and all of a sudden, my lack of concern or selfishness just spread covid-19 to 27 people. That 27 becomes 81 and those 81 become 243 infected individuals. The death rate in the US right now, according to the Wall Street Journal, stands at 1.7%. So, again, my disregard could lead to the deaths of 4 people and the number will keep growing until the virus burns itself out or we get a handle on it. Why take the chance?
If We All Do Our Part, a More Positive Outcome Can Be Expected
Hopefully, this virus will take its toll and leave most of our towns and cities unscathed. As unlikely as this is, every one of us that does our part will get us closer to the most positive outcome possible.
We All Need to Support Our Local Businesses
That being said, I think it is also incumbent upon us to support our restaurants, breweries, and other impacted businesses. Take-out, delivery, and drive-throughs are open. Gift certificates for future use are available for sale at many of these locations. We each need to do our part to support our local businesses. I, for one, am picking up a crowler, ordering a pizza and settling in with my friend for a Netflix movie and evening at home. Check with your local breweries as some may only sell new growlers and not refill one you bring in, again to prevent the spread of disease. Crowlers might be a cheaper option if you already have a pile of growlers at home waiting to be re-filled.
The Worst Usually Brings Out the Best in Some of Us
Baked Dessert, a bakery in downtown Berlin announced last week that they would start feeding kids who, with the closing of our public schools, have lost access to their free and reduced lunch programs. Baked Dessert asked for donations of food and other supplies and will be setting up an hour long distribution center in Berlin each day to feed kids who won’t eat properly without help.
Now, Billy’s Sub Shop is providing free kids meals to children who need it while schools remain closed. Children will have to pick up the meals at Billy’s Ocean City and Fenwick Island locations. Food is available all day for these kids. Billy’s is not asking for donations at this time.
I am sure more people and businesses, like Baked Dessert and Billy’s, will show us why we love to be Americans.
I wish all of us luck and good judgement as we approach the coming weeks. Go out and get your groceries, buy your take-out, order food delivered, and get your crowlers and growlers filled with your favorite local craft beer!