UK Labour leader Keir Starmer is self-solating
I’m in the West End where London mayor Sadiq Khan is causing a bit of excitement amongst shoppers in Carnaby Street on his walking tour to promote retailers hard hit by lockdowns
Jeffrey Merrihue had just finished installing $80,000 worth of dining booths on the street outside his informal Italian eatery blocks away from the Pacific Ocean when word came down that Los Angeles county was instituting a three-week ban on outdoor dining.
Not only was he not amused – he thought the decision was misguided and desperately unfair.
“Are you kidding me?” Merrihue said, sitting in one of the booths that the city of Santa Monica encouraged him to build on a line of metered parking spots. “I have to close outdoor dining, while people are mobbing indoor malls? When supermarket shoppers are passing inches away from each other and coughing on the broccoli? It’s a ridiculous double standard.”
Southern California’s warm winter weather and plentiful outdoor space should, in theory, act as a buffer against the virus’s worst ravages. The data, though, tells a different story.
Los Angeles county, with a population of 10 million people the most populous in the country, reported more than 7,800 new cases on Thursday, up from 6,000 new cases the day before and up alarmingly from mid-October, when the daily case rate was below 2,000. The number of people in hospital, meanwhile, has surged from about 1,000 a month ago to more than 2,500. Local officials fear they could run out of hospital beds by Christmas.