Solvang Openly Defies State COVID-19 Order

Solvang Openly Defies State COVID-19 Order title=
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This story was originally published by the Santa Barbara Independent and is reproduced here in partnership with Edhat.


By Tyler Hayden of The Independent

As Santa Barbara County battles against its third wave of the coronavirus, reporting 643 active cases Friday and 140 total deaths, Solvang is actively flouting Governor Gavin Newsom’s latest stay-at-home order. The order closed all in-person dining, hotels, and wineries and breweries ― the types of businesses the Danish-themed tourist town lives on.

On Monday, the city council voted to defy the state edict, which applies to the entire Southern California region, including Los Angeles. Mayor Ryan Toussaint filed the emergency motion. It was approved unanimously. “As of tonight, they can go about their business,” said Councilmember Daniel Johnson of the restaurants and bars lining downtown’s Copenhagen Drive. 

“People can’t keep getting kicked like this,” said Councilmember Robert Clarke, complaining Solvang and Santa Barbara County shouldn’t be lumped with Los Angeles and its spiking caseload. “Maybe we need to rename all our restaurants French Laundry,” he quipped, alluding to Newsom’s famously hypocritical close-quarters dinner at an upscale Napa restaurant.

Clarke also suggested the governor’s order would last longer than the three weeks it currently dictates. “If anybody thinks this is going to be three weeks, you’re smoking something,” Clarke said. “The city needs to do something to keep these businesses open. I’ll take the heat wherever it comes from.”

Councilmembers Jim Thomas and Karen Waite raised concerns about the liability of such an openly defiant move. City Attorney Chip Wullbrandt said unless Solvang actively prevented the enforcement of Newsom’s order, he didn’t see any glaring legal issues. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over Solvang, hasn’t shown an appetite to issue citations, he pointed out.

The cities of Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach are making similarly subversive moves, Wullbrandt said. They even declared their outside restaurant tables public spaces, so take-out diners could sit there without fear of breaking the law. So is San Mateo, a much larger community. One of the state’s Superior Courts has already ruled Newsom’s order unlawful, Wullbrandt said, though he didn’t say which.

Before the 5-0 vote, Johnson pushed for Solvang to act quickly and not wait for the Santa Barbara County government to take a more regional stand. “You either do it now and open things up, or you don’t do it at all,” he said. “Because by the time you do it with letters and talking to the county… I mean, this is government, and it’s going to take forever.”

Toussaint, who said little during the meeting, issued his own statement afterward: “Significant concerns about the latest round of business shutdowns were expressed by residents, business representatives, and our council,” he said. “The community of Solvang has done a great job at being mindful, safe, and responsible while keeping our local economy going during these challenging times. The current order by the state is ill-conceived, unnecessary, and, quite frankly, negligent when it comes to protecting our community in a safe, balanced, and sane manner.”

Tracy Beard, executive director of the Solvang Chamber of Commerce, touted the city’s relatively low COVID-19 case count in her own arguments to ignore Newsom and keep businesses open. “We have had half a million people come through Solvang over the summer,” she said. “We must be doing something right in this town. I don’t understand why we’re not open.”

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a-1607921121 Dec 13, 2020 08:45 PM
Solvang Openly Defies State COVID-19 Order

I was sitting oputside, starbucks at, Cota and State the other night and they were packed shoulder to shoulder getting drinks and the like . Didn't know they could even do that under hypocrite Newsom's orders .

CoastWatch Dec 13, 2020 04:36 PM
Solvang Openly Defies State COVID-19 Order

Solvang was very busy- EVERYONE practicing social distancing and wearing masks BTW... The Christmas decorations in the park and on Copenhagen St were a nice break from the usual... Merry Chirstmas!

CrystalSpiritLuvr Dec 13, 2020 06:41 PM
Solvang Openly Defies State COVID-19 Order

They think they are saying 'we are willing to risk our lives to keep our freedoms' what they are really saying 'we are willing to kill to keep our freedoms'. The city council members should show us how it's all done and bring their elderly relatives down for a little buffet smorgasbord!

pstarSR Dec 13, 2020 06:50 PM
Solvang Openly Defies State COVID-19 Order

Solvang, the largest tourist attraction near us. Especially for chinese and other foreigners. Holy hell i thought we were free of idiots like this! Good grief

Basicinfo805 Dec 13, 2020 06:58 PM
Solvang Openly Defies State COVID-19 Order

Right on Solvang, and the other cities cited. Way to stand up to this Newsome bs. No, he's really screwing up royally. Crystalspirit and macpuzl sound like they're betting the farm there's going to be a hotspot in Solvang next week or so. Well, let's see. They probably also believed back in march the same bs the press was spewing about a doomsday week, "our generation's Pearl Harbor" or something like that.

macpuzl Dec 13, 2020 07:01 PM
Solvang Openly Defies State COVID-19 Order

Yeah, we're getting more than a Pearl Harbor's worth of death *each day* from the pandemic now, thanks to the deniers out there.

macpuzl Dec 13, 2020 07:34 PM
Solvang Openly Defies State COVID-19 Order

US direct combat deaths in WWII (not counting MIA, disease, accidents, etc.)
291,557
US deaths from COVID-19 to date (Johns Hopkins)
299,163

Basicinfo805 Dec 13, 2020 07:36 PM
Solvang Openly Defies State COVID-19 Order

I'm not a denier at all, nor are the Solvang and SB business owners and workers and kids and families who are all abiding by rules and science and are still getting shafted.

Basicinfo805 Dec 13, 2020 07:51 PM
Solvang Openly Defies State COVID-19 Order

Good one! You're half right. I do have a big head, larger than average, if that's what you were thinking. But I'm also a scientist, a physician to be precise. We just don't agree partner.

a-1607919097 Dec 13, 2020 08:11 PM
Solvang Openly Defies State COVID-19 Order

@ 8:08 PM -

I don't think you understand the severity of the pandemic.
Do you think 300,000 deaths in the USA alone are faked?
International death totals are faked?
Other countries are in on the conspiracy?
Too little thinking behind such a comment.

Ant lion Dec 14, 2020 08:17 AM
Solvang Openly Defies State COVID-19 Order

These are not comparable. Covid deaths are dominated by older people. The average age of covid death is around 70. Of course most of these people would have lived longer without covid, but it's not the same as killing young people in a war. Excess deaths among those 15-64 years old are about 2% higher than the long term average. We should care about covid obviously, but false comparisons just mislead.

Ant lion Dec 14, 2020 08:20 AM
Solvang Openly Defies State COVID-19 Order

These are not comparable. Covid deaths are dominated by older people. The average age of covid death is around 70. Of course most of these people would have lived longer without covid, but it's not the same as killing young people in a war. Excess deaths among those 15-64 years old are about 2% higher than the long term average. We should care about covid obviously, but false comparisons just mislead.

a-1607967405 Dec 14, 2020 09:36 AM
Solvang Openly Defies State COVID-19 Order

How cruel of you. If the virus mutates back to the "L" strain in Wuhan that not only killed the elderly but young adults and middle aged, will you suddenly be concerned?

catwrangler Dec 13, 2020 06:59 PM
Solvang Openly Defies State COVID-19 Order

People were not masked and social distanced today in Solvang contrary to what someone wrote. I took a walk around noon and there were many couples were one person was not wearing a mask and people would stand too close at the stop lights. Won't be going for any walks again in town.

a-1607922984 Dec 13, 2020 09:16 PM
Solvang Openly Defies State COVID-19 Order

Masks do not make a difference. That has been proven. Yeah, you can find arguments both ways on the web, but check with unbiased doctors, not those paid by large corporations (Cottage) or the government.

letmego Dec 14, 2020 10:02 AM
Solvang Openly Defies State COVID-19 Order

"Masks don't work, that's been proven." Um, no. Links? There have been multiple studies that show the opposite - from those where groups are actually measuring the amount of particles / respiratory droplets that are released past various types of face coverings, meta analysis data on COVID spread in various countries and their mask wearing, plus anecdotal data showing the effectiveness of masks in slowing the spread in various situations.
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/masking-science-sars-cov2.html

a-1607987939 Dec 14, 2020 03:18 PM
Solvang Openly Defies State COVID-19 Order

https://healthfeedback.org/claimreview/non-pharmaceutical-interventions-such-as-lockdowns-and-wearing-face-masks-are-effective-measures-to-reduce-covid-19-transmission-contrary-to-claims-in-viral-video/

LooseCannon Dec 13, 2020 07:07 PM
Solvang Openly Defies State COVID-19 Order

Well, I hate to break it to you, but Solvang isn't alone. On Saturday I rode my bike down State Street and noticed three couples enjoying meals on the patio created by Chase Restaurant on State Street (which, by the way, has the prettiest Christmas decorations of any restaurant and looks very festive). Riding back up an hour later, there was a similar scene.

Today, Sunday, same thing. At least three tables at Chase were occupied by diners. This time it looked like the diners were eating out of take-out boxes, so maybe Chase is following other out-of-area restaurants, where their outdoor dining areas have been re-designated as “public spaces" so they can avoid liability issues.

Peering down the restaurant alley in the Paseo Nuevo, I observed that every table, at least a dozen of them, were occupied by groups of diners. That looked way worse, much more densely packed the few diners at Chase.

Personally, I am skeptical about any claims that outdoor restaurants are causing the spread of COVID. And I know there are scientists who back me up.

I have been eating at restaurants once or twice a week for the past few months, but I choose wisely and avoid the restaurants with a party-like atmosphere, and those with COVID cabanas, the tented "outdoor" structures that have ceilings and enclosed sides. I haven't even considered eating inside, even when it was possible. On no occasion did I feel unsafe, seated 12 feet away from other diners, or interacting with wait staff.

When people are in public, they are more likely to restrain themselves and behave sensibly, especially outdoors, since you are literally on display, where errant behavior is going to be called out. Shut down outdoor restaurant dining and brewers and force individuals into private, indoor situations, and all hell will break loose.

I know there are people who will say: don't party indoors, don't eat outdoors, but people who make this argument just don't understand that people are essentially social animals, and they will gather, whether you like it or not. Better to do it outdoors, in public, where behavior is visible and regulated, than in private indoor situations.

The blanket closure of all restaurants is, in my opinion, counterproductive. It isn't going to stop the spread of the virus. It may even make things worse. And it is going to ruin a lot of businesses.

OpossumBoy Dec 13, 2020 07:37 PM
Solvang Openly Defies State COVID-19 Order

Well put, loosecannon. The only thing I might add concerns your statement, “When people are in public, they are more likely to restrain themselves and behave sensibly, especially outdoors, since you are literally on display.”

That is, except for those ding-dongs that are making some kind of anti-masker statement. We’re fortunate that we don’t have those flaming loons around here. They’re mostly in Eastern Washington, Idaho, the Dakotas, and other spots around the U.S.

a-1607917281 Dec 13, 2020 07:41 PM
Solvang Openly Defies State COVID-19 Order

Open up, more deaths. Close down, deaths decline. Open up, deaths climb. Close down, fewer deaths. How many times do we need to repeat this cycle before people figure it out?

Ahchooo Dec 13, 2020 07:47 PM
Solvang Openly Defies State COVID-19 Order

My understanding was that when L.A. stopped outdoor dining it was because people from separate households were meeting up at restaurants, not that the outdoor dining itself was the problem. I don’t know what Newsom’s reasoning was.

LooseCannon Dec 13, 2020 08:23 PM
Solvang Openly Defies State COVID-19 Order

AHCHOOO, if people are intent upon gathering in groups, which do you think poses the greatest risk: indoors, in a private setting; outdoors, say in a park or at the beach; or at an outdoor patio restaurant?

With the exception of sports bar restaurants, where groups of people are gathered around pitchers of beers and roaring loudly at the tv screens (projecting viral particles and spit in every direction), the vast majority of restaurants are rather sedate places, where people are on their best behaviour.

Certainly not a good idea for large groups to gather in restaurants, or anywhere else for that matter, but I see little harm or relatively little risk in one or two people or small families eating out, if they're in regular contact anyway.

420722 Dec 13, 2020 08:25 PM
Solvang Openly Defies State COVID-19 Order

Nice to know, I will make a point to go support the locals struggling to make money during the holidays. After reading edhat for the past few (actually many) months during covid it turns out that we’re not all in this together. It’s been the haves against the have nots the whole time. Smh.

a-1607920418 Dec 13, 2020 08:33 PM
Solvang Openly Defies State COVID-19 Order

8:25 PM :

You don'y grasp the severity of this pandemic.
Over 3,000 deaths a day.
Young and old are in danger, depending on genetics.
Only fools deny that the restrictions work.

ParvoPup Dec 13, 2020 08:37 PM
Solvang Openly Defies State COVID-19 Order

My neighbor and most of his family works in Solvang at three different restaurants. Every single one of them were Covid positive earlier this summer as were their line cooks, servers, front office and back office.

Luckily, probably because all are mostly youngish, symptoms were mild to barely moderate.

So they did the American Patriot thing - they went to work. None took a day off.

They kept slinging plates to the gumbahs from LA and Ventura.

Solvang City Council screech about no surges in the Valley.

Of course not sweetums, those workers live over here in Lompoc and their customers are from So Cal.

The sickened got counted in the county or city where they got tested - not where they ate some waffles on a weekend trip.

Misdirection isn't just for party magicians.

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