by William Skink
Lord Checota would like you to know he thinks it’s time for you to come to one of his establishments to spend money.
There has been careful deliberation about this. The decision is based on data. Also, owning properties that sit empty day after day really sucks.
From Lord Checota’s plea to buy his chicken and waffles:
In an area of social media and politicized news, it has been difficult to formulate an accurate understanding of the COVID-19 epidemic. As a restaurant owner, I wanted the most accurate information to understand when and how to responsibly and safely reopen our dine-in operations. In our research, it became clear that John Hopkins University is the leading non-partisan institution driving federal and state COVID-19 policy. In particular, JHU has published widely adopted, non-partisan reports outlining a phased approach in reopening state economies.
To make his case our benevolent Lord cites the four pre-opening conditions JHU recommends should be in place before eating chicken and waffles:
The most widely accepted JHU report outlined four conditions that should be achieved prior to reopening a state’s economy to “non-essential businesses” such as restaurants. These four conditions include: 1. the number of new cases has declined for 14 days, 2. diagnostic testing capacity is sufficient to test all people with COVID-19 symptoms, 3. the health care system is able to care for infected patients and 4. sufficient capacity to conduct “contact tracing” for new cases. Based on our assessment, Missoula County has met all four criteria.
I didn’t realize Missoula County has the diagnostic testing capacity to test all people with COVID-19 symptoms. That has certainly not been the case up to this point. I am glad our Lord has the latest information to share with us about this.
I am curious to know more about our “sufficient capacity” to conduct “contract tracing”. How many people have been identified as having had contact with positive cases? How many people are being monitored? How is Missoula County tracing contacts? Is there an app for that? Here is some of that precious data:
Missoula County has successfully implemented a rapid diagnostic testing program that currently has excess capacity. For example, the testing facility at the Fairgrounds has a capacity of 80 tests per day. According to the MCHD, the facility is experiencing approximately 24 requests per day, with a peak day of 32 requests, less than half the current capacity.
Sarcasm aside, I actually agree with Lord Checota’s assessment, even if I have zero empathy for his plight. I doubt our Lord’s plans to suck up 16.5 million in public TIF money for his Big D(rift) is far from his scheming mind as he pleads for Missoulians to dine-in on chicken and waffles.
Personally, I won’t be spending any of my limited resources on a Checota establishment. Plenty of local restaurants have already adapted by shifting to take-out options and were able to remain open during the lock-down. I have enjoyed Bridge Pizza, Notorious P.I.G., Koh Changs and Tagliare on the few occasions we have decided to order out.
These businesses aren’t a part of the Governor’s task force, and they aren’t panhandling the Missoula Redevelopment Agency for public money to build an event center, so I will continue supporting them.
I don’t know how Lord Checota defines our “NEW NORMAL”, but if it was up to me our NEW NORMAL would include a permanent moratorium on subsidizing private development with public money.
Maybe that’s just me.
I find it odd that Checota seems to think that every business owner gets to make their own determination about how the County is meeting the 4 conditions to reopen. I thought that was the Health Department’s role, just as it is the role of the School Board on what to do about re-opening a school. Or does each teacher get to decide if their class opens, or do parents get to decide to send their kids to the school whether or not the school has teachers in classrooms or the staff to manage students?
But I guess when said business owner is a buddy of the Governor, and on his
fundraising committeetask force, he can get away with saying and doing whatever he wants.
As to TIF monies and the gentrification of Missoula, now would be a great time to pause and reassess the community’s future.
I will be among the thousands in the community that want the food and entertainment back whenever Nick is ready. Yes THOUSANDS of customers.
You eat your pot pies and whistle Dixie.
We’ll get through this together.