Now we know what the COVID police will do – Smoky Mountain News

Posted: November 17, 2021 at 12:57 pm

Ive had mixed feelings about the COVID police since the beginning of the pandemics lockdowns.

As governors enacted shutdown orders and the country went into lockdown in March 2020, people began asking who would enforce the laws, how stringent would punishments be?

Now we know. A Buncombe County court found the Rise n Shine caf owner guilty of willfully defying Gov. Roy Coopers Executive Order 138 prohibiting sit-down dining. The eatery opened from May 16-19, 2020, and the order was in effect until May 22, 2020. After a jury found the restaurant guilty last week, the judge ordered its owner to pay a $1,000 fine and spend one year on unsupervised probation. The case was appealed after a similar ruling from a judge in July.

The restaurants lawyers argued that it was struggling to stay in business and so chose to open. It is the only business in Buncombe County taken to court for defying the states shutdown orders.

Remember how surreal it got back in April and May of 2020 when wed walk down usually busy streets lined with restaurants and bars and no one was open? Owners got creative and tried all forms of carry out, but the truth is the income businesses lost and the wages lost by laid off employees wont ever be regained.

Rise n Shine, it was reported in court, was the recipient of $118,000 of the federal aid that was offered to help businesses affected by the shutdown. So, the owners took advantage of what the government offered but also defied government orders aimed at slowing the spread of the pandemic.

My libertarian heart sways toward the live and let live. I almost always disagree with laws that deny rights related to personal matters (like sexuality, for instance, and even drug use).

As the pandemic spread, however, I was in the camp that advocated for small group gatherings, outside meetings, staying home, wearing masks, etc. For me, it was personal responsibility, doing my small part to try and slow the spread of the virus. For a society to have as many freedoms as we enjoy, citizens must also take personal responsibility for their actions. Otherwise, the system falls apart and chaos ensues.

This pandemic has been responsible for 18,463 deaths in North Carolina, 763,000 in the U.S., and 5.1 million worldwide. If more people had acted responsibly from the beginning, the death toll would not have grown so large. Now, as the economy staggers to recover from pandemic-related decisions made by the government and by businesses large and small, many likely regret some of the choices that were made very early.

As vaccine mandates have ramped up, Ive also found myself in the middle: I think everyone should get the vaccine, but Im not firing employees who are also friends who choose not to.

This pandemic has done plenty to divide us. It has thrown fuel on what was already a heated political divide that somehow must be tamped down. Thankfully, the COVID police arent brandishing debilitating punishments to businesses who defied the orders. In the end, we are all in this together, and thats the only way well find a path out.

(Scott McLeod can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

Excerpt from:
Now we know what the COVID police will do - Smoky Mountain News

Related Post