Beaches still closed
EDITOR: The new “access” to coastal parks is still no access for anyone but a select few residents basically in Bodega Bay and Jenner (“County expands opening of parks,” Wednesday). Walk or bike in? Sonoma isn't Ventura County or Orange County. Bodega Bay and Jenner have less than 1,100 people combined. This does nothing to change our coastal access.
Time restrictions are a great idea, but county residents should be able to drive in during these limited times. I have never seen a crowd before 11 a.m. on our coast. Let county residents make their way to the shoreline now with restrictions.
EDITOR: Where is the urgency from county leadership? Dr. Sundari Mase, the public health officer, took two days to prepare a boilerplate addendum document to repeat what the governor declared on Tuesday (“Push to speed up reopening,” Thursday). Meanwhile, Napa County already submitted a complete variance application to the state.
Sonoma County needs a variance today, not in the weeks ahead. Every business that can assure a safe operation needs to be allowed to open today, not in the weeks ahead. Every unemployed person who is permitted to work needs to be back at work today, not in the weeks ahead.
Most every county employee is getting paid whether they're working or not, while thousands of residents are unemployed. We implore our county leadership to use these assets and get our variance application submitted to the governor within hours, not days or weeks.
EDITOR: Dr. Sundari Mase, the Sonoma County public health officer, should be commended for her actions minimizing the spread of COVID-19 to two current ICU cases. Her original guidelines wisely encouraged outdoor activity at parks and beaches for mental and physical health.
Regrettably, decision-makers overreacted to media-hyped photos of people enjoying the beaches, by closing coastal access and restricting parks to only the privileged few. Such decisions should be justified based solely on scientific evidence.
A study of more than 1,000 cases identified only one outdoor incident and concluded that infections are far more likely to spread among people in confined spaces indoors where 99.9% of the cases occurred. Scott Gottlieb, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, recommends that parks reopen for outdoor activities and restaurants offer dining outside because there is a low risk of the disease spreading in the open air.
A hospitalization crisis has been averted in Sonoma County because most residents have acted responsibly and have earned the right to be trusted with less-restrictive guidelines. In addition to allowing golf, public facilities should be reopened for swimmers, walkers, bikers, tennis and pickleball players to benefit from exercise so essential to our health.
The wrong message
EDITOR: OK, Sonoma County allowed clothing stores to open, with strict guidelines for safety. Did anyone else see the irony of the page photo on May 9 of a Healdsburg shop owner, not wearing a mask, with arms open, “welcoming” a customer who drove three hours to shop? What message does it send to our medical authorities and to those merchants still unable to open their doors or to anyone else trying to follow the guidelines?
Reopening tasting rooms
EDITOR: Here are some suggestions on how we can reopen tasting rooms in a safe environment. Wine tasting would be by appointment only and spaced out so no one group is within 6 feet of another.
If a tasting room has outdoor seating, that would provide for more customers at one time. A time limit of 55 minutes would need to be adhered to if another customer is coming in for an appointment in the same space. All surfaces used by the customer leaving would be sanitized before the next set of customers would be allowed in.
Customers could bring their own glasses, buy glasses at the tasting room, or disposable wine glasses could be provided. This would prevent the tasting room staff from having to touch customers' glasses.
Tasting room staff would need to wear face masks and stand 6 feet away after pouring each taste, with customers standing back while getting their pours. The tasting menu should be displayed so that the customer couldn't touch it, or provide single-use disposable menus. Customers would need to pay with a credit card. Hand sanitizer would be provided.
Here's hoping we can get our tasting rooms back open in a safe manner soon.
Calling for resignation
EDITOR: This subject is so old and tired that I didn't even put it in the first sentence for fear you'd stop reading already. Why isn't your newspaper calling for Donald Trump to resign? I know the answer, of course. So do you. But forgetting the very untranquil past three years, in this month of May 2020, the president has mishandled a health crisis, which has led to death. There are no indications that the administration plans to responsibly tackle the problem at all for the remainder of the first term. So why would editorial boards not call for his resignation?
I am not writing because I think these actions would cause a resignation. It should be evident that all Americans must do what they can to preserve standards of democratic governance. An editorial is the least a media outlet can do.
You can send a letter to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.