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Across America, states are casting off the shackles of COVID restrictions and returning to normal. Not a new normal, not a variation on normal, but plain, good old-fashioned normal.
Meanwhile, absolutely nobody is surprised that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s position is, essentially, “not so fast.”
You see, here in the Empire State — aptly named as it is still widely ruled through Emperor Cuomo’s emergency powers — our daily lives are still riddled with a hodgepodge of contradictory and oft bizarre restrictions on our freedoms. Like a jilted paramour, Cuomo simply can’t accept that the COVID crisis is over.
The current landscape of COVID regulations enforced by Cuomo’s regime simply makes no sense. Over at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn more that 10,000 fans, often maskless while eating and drinking, watch the mighty Nets course through the NBA playoffs.
Meanwhile, across town at Penn Station, recently rebuilt as an airy and open cathedral of transportation, the mask mandates persist. If you are sitting shoulder to shoulder screaming cheers for Kevin Durant, no mask. But if you sit alone on a bench quietly reading while awaiting your train, mask up.
As has been the case from Day 1 of this pandemic the situation is even worse, more confusing, and more nonsensical for our children. The policies on masking kids at school seem to change every 10 minutes or so for no apparent reason. New York Senate GOP leader Rob Ortt, who is leading the effort to remove King Cuomo’s crown, said he has spoken to school officials “who are utterly angry, who are upset, and who are confused.”
The only justification for these continued restrictions, for not following the lead of places like Texas and Florida to where our citizens are flocking, appears to be Cuomo’s own gargantuan ego. He likes parceling out little flecks of freedom to his plebes. One imagines him powder wigged, with a gentle back of the hand royal waive announcing, “I doth declare upon this day that in accordance with science masks shall not be worn on Thursdays.”
Sometime in the next few days, New York will hit the milestone of 70 percent of eligible arms having at least one dose of vaccine. This will lift still further rules on commerce and congregation, but notably excepted are our schools, and yes, the poor souls waiting for their New Jersey or Long Island train lines. Why? Nobody seems to know, least of all Cuomo and his dour band of scientists.
Why are restaurants still at 75 percent capacity? Why do people have to be 6 feet away from each other at the bar?
Even worse is that the governor keeps talking about opening up to a “reimagined New York.” Reimagined by whom, to what purpose, and for whose benefit? Clearly Cuomo clings to his emergency powers so that he may be the one doing this reimagining, not the people of the state through their elected legislators. You know, how things are supposed to work.
Clear-minded New Yorkers know that two things have to happen in very short order. First, Cuomo’s emergency powers must be stripped. Second, the capricious and arbitrary rules on adults and even more importantly kids must be lifted. With positivity rates at an all time low and vaccination rates sky high, our schools and summer camps should return to normal, not a reimagined normal, but the normal of carefree capture the flag and archery we have always known.
All throughout the state the confusing mandates have left people in churches, grocery stores, and other public places doing a strange mask dance. If you’re vaccinated, why do you need to wear them? But as we know there are still those who for myriad reasons having nothing to do with science cling to these security blankets.
The governor can and should end all of this by opening the state completely. Cuomo had no problem declaring his own victories in his ridiculous book last year, but now he won’t declare an actual victory over COVID bought with the effort of all New Yorkers.
David Marcus’ book, “Charade: The Covid Lies That Crushed A Nation,” is out now.
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