Multitasking, Perhaps in Vain

gunn chamber 0520
Borrowed from the website.

I was going to try, I really was, to unearth a non-virus topic, but I need to write an e-mail, and I can blog or e-mail, but it’s much easier to do both at the same time.

The last letter I meant to write never got written, although as I’m typing I suppose that might even be better tactically. One of those people who spends the majority of her time railing about the government spending money on absolutely anything and everything while living off the public dole herself, “the later nine (of her 35-year career in communications) being as executive director of the Tourism Association” (a position fully funded by taxpayers) wrote one of her many screeds to both papers last week.

She was mad about all the same things the angry people I wrote about yesterday are mad at, but in addition to chewing the county commissioners and the county’s public health officials up one side and down the other, she went on the attack against the two chambers of commerce for good measure.

I’m not sure what she wanted. It sounded like she expected two chronically underfunded entities, neither of which seems to enjoy much public financial support, to throw a lot of money toward the local businesses, and she was quite indignant that “second homeowners” had spent far more money supporting local businesses than the chambers.

This letter-writing crank, who can barely stand to go two weeks without weighing in on some topic that makes her unhappy, deserved to be called on her self-righteous and completely misguided umbrage. Both local chambers have turned into champions of fury, as the women at the helms of each of them appear to be devoting every waking moment of every day (all seven in the week) to trying to help local businesses.

Ashley at the Crested Butte chamber is mainlining Zoom — she’s probably on it in her sleep, coordinating business sector plans and weekly meetings and yet still finding time to respond to individual business owners like me. Celeste at the Gunnison chamber has dug and dug and dug, leaving no stone unturned in her quest to find possible points of business assistance. “I would walk on hot coals for our businesses,” she told me, and that’s what she’s doing.

Their heroic efforts deserve praise, not the scorn of a non-business owner who has never let facts get in the way of her letter-writing hobby. So I wanted to respond, but I was torn in a couple of ways. First, I wasn’t sure whether to channel Michelle Obama and go high to that woman’s low, although some day I honestly want her to explain how it is that all government spending is bad, except her nine (at a minimum — I don’t know what she did before gracing Gunnison County with her presence) years suckling at a taxpayer-funded teat.

Second, this woman always — and I mean always — has to have the last word. If someone responds in the paper to whatever she has spouted off about, she will follow up. I’m not interested in providing oxygen to feed her fire.

But as I started this, it occurs to me that if I wait another week, take the Obama High Road and just write a letter complimenting the work of the chambers, it becomes harder for her, although her ego is large, to assume I’m talking about her. (Just like Carly Simon, perhaps to James Taylor: “You probably think this song is about you, don’t you?”

So there. You all have solved one of my problems. I’m so glad you’re here!

And so I move on to the next issue, which arose during my Tuesday Zoom with the retail and services business sector (run by Ashley from the CB chamber, even if she isn’t doing a single darn thing to support her businesses).

Apparently the public health director wants all businesses opening or planning to open to report back to her with a protocol for closing on the short term should a customer or employee test positive. The director of the ICELab (entrepreneurship, not immigration, remember) encouraged people to air their concerns, noting that people in the restaurant and manufacturing meetings held before ours had some outright anger.

And, it turns out, so did I. My first question, which I had to type because for whatever reason my computer microphone, which works just fine in Skype, doesn’t work in Zoom meetings, was: If someone who tests positive was in City Market, will they have to close for 72 hours for cleaning? And the answer was: of course not, because they’re “essential.”

Now, I need to start from the position that I think we’re likely re-opening too soon, and that a flare-up is not only possible but probable. Pat’s remains closed to the public, which doesn’t appear to be clamoring to get in anyway, and a tour of downtown yesterday shows I am not the only retail outlet delaying my opening, although many stores had their doors open (literally; the weather was warm).

But, these are my questions before I feel I could agree to any re-closing protocol (understanding that the weight on this teeter-totter is all on one side, and it’s not mine):

If an asymptomatic customer spends 15 minutes in my shop and presents symptoms even one day later, waits two days to call the call center, another day to go get tested, a week to get test results, what exactly do we accomplish by closing Pat’s for 72 hours? We are nine days past the point of contact, and from everything I understand, the virus is no longer viable on any surface in our store — surfaces that will have all been sanitized many, many times since that visit, including immediately afterwards.

If an asymptomatic customer spends 15 minutes in my shop, then goes, in no particular order, to a marijuana dispensary, Ace Hardware, City Market, Tractor Supply, and a daycare center, and later tests positive, am I the only one of all those businesses that will be required to close? The logic of that escapes me, particularly since I am magnitudes of public contact below every single one of those businesses.

The more I learn about this virus, the less I want to fall victim to it, and I am well aware that every person I come in contact with increases my odds, and not in a good way. But if we’re not going to clamp down uniformly on those potential points of contact, then all we’re doing is punitively driving the smallest businesses out.

There! Two e-mails/letters and a blog, all rolled into one convenient package. I feel so gosh-darn productive, and so should you, for helping me think all this through. I am so glad you’re here, and perhaps someday I’ll climb off my coronavirus horse and regale you with something not me.

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