Voices | Nov. 26-Dec. 3

Santa Claus
It’s holiday time! Image: krakenimages

The Shout out: The holiday season is upon us, and soon Santa would be making the rounds.

Your turn: Pretend you’re Mayor Kenney. What are you asking Santa to bring you this year?

Send your thoughts to voices@philadelphiaweekly.com.

Not the time to go after music platforms

The live music and performance industry has taken a massive hit during the pandemic. For those of us who make our living putting together large gatherings, finding ways to keep the music going hasn’t been easy. Thankfully, we’ve been able to use a host of free online platforms to bring performances to our audiences and keep our community engaged.

It is our hope that our political leaders will recognize the value of these technologies to our industry. While the DOJ was working on its recent lawsuit against Google, small business owners across the state – including ours – were actively leaning on their tools for support. And we sincerely hope to continue to do so.

This is likely the worst time to go after the technology platforms that are keeping our music community connected. These tools have not only allowed us to persevere, but they will likely remain a crucial part of our business model for the foreseeable future. I hope that political leaders from both sides of the aisle will do their part to allow us to continue our access to these free services.

Karen Lauria Saillant | The Fire

Message to Kenney: Reconsider restrictions

Dear Mayor Kenney,

I am writing to express my concern regarding the new COVID-19 restrictions that went into effect Nov. 20. I am a resident of South Philadelphia and have called this city home for the past seven years. I fully recognize the dangers of the novel coronavirus and support measures designed to safeguard public health. However, blanket business closures are not the answer. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, COVID-19 is primarily thought to spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. This information highlights the importance of avoiding large crowds and wearing masks.  

When I frequent the businesses in my neighborhood, I see that precautions have been implemented accordingly. Customers wear masks and capacities are limited. Surfaces are frequently cleaned, even though surface contamination is thought to be a less common method of spread. When these guidelines are in place, I find it hard to believe that going to a restaurant, exercising at the gym, or visiting a museum are risky activities. Our businesses are following the rules, and now they are being punished. Maybe some will survive until Jan. 1. But many won’t.  

Furthermore, I am deeply concerned about the impact that these closures will have on the mental health of our citizens. In many ways, I have been extremely lucky this year. My husband and I both still have jobs. Yet, even in these best of circumstances, there are challenges. My husband works at a life-sustaining business and has continued to report to work every Monday through Friday while I work from home. For several months at the start of the pandemic, I spent my days in solitude, and it took a toll. Going to the gym has been my saving grace and the only reason I have to leave the house besides essential trips like picking up groceries.  

I don’t need to point out that many people work from home now, and many of them are alone.  This is not to even mention all of the people who have lost their jobs completely. Solitude is the best case scenario during this pandemic, and I speak from experience when I say that it’s a pretty terrible best case scenario. These restrictions will take away our only escapes, and to what end? Those who are irresponsible about the spread of this virus will continue to be irresponsible.  

Others may criticize me for wanting to go to the gym or go out for coffee, saying we are safer at home. I don’t deny that there is some risk of exposure in going out. I have chosen to take that risk in order to maintain my mental health. But more importantly, I am transparent with others and respectful of different comfort levels. I keep my mask on and remain cautious where other people are involved. Many people will not want to go out at this point. But with these new measures, we don’t even have a choice. 

I urge you to reconsider these restrictions. I agree that we need to wear masks and have capacity limits on gatherings. But the businesses that make this city so special (and that have followed the CDC guidelines from the beginning) are already hurting. Please don’t sign their death warrants by enforcing more closures. And please don’t isolate us in our homes. Physical health is vitally important. But so is mental health and financial health. Please give your business owners and your residents the opportunity to care for all three. 

Emily Medina | Philadelphia

Our controversial cover of last week’s issue.

Clowning around

Judging from your comments on our Instagram post, you either loved last week’s cover or you hated it. Here’s a sampling of what you had to say.

“I feel for these businesses but there is a flip side. I and many do not wish to be inside a building to eat. It is too risky, plus many of us just can’t afford it. The feds have to release funds to all of us so we can get through this.”

“Definitely he’s a clown. He’s trying to kill businesses in Philadelphia. Close Philly and he goes to a Maryland restaurant to eat again.”

“I feel like this is really tacky and insensitive to the major issues at hand. He’s not the first mayor to implement restrictions like this and he won’t be the last with the amount of community spread occurring. We do need to apply pressure to him and other government officials to pass aid relief for people and businesses that are struggling.”

“Keep putting Democrats in charge of Philly, and this is what you get. He makes Wilson Goode Look like an Awesome Mayor!!” 

“Maybe we should be demanding another stimulus for small businesses and their employees rather than mock those trying to save lives. This scorn is very misdirected, and isn’t helpful to the situation.”

“If people would have listened to their instructions when COVID first started, stayed indoors, socially distanced themselves and took the necessary precautions, WE WOULDN’T STILL BE IN THIS SITUATION!! If you think your rights are being taken from you and you are free to do what you want, YOU are the reason we need another lockdown. Maybe this time you will listen and not act like a bunch of jackasses.”

“If they are shutting these places down, they should be more strict with Target, Homegoods, Home Depot, Walmart, Lowes! All of these big box stores do not monitor how many patrons enter and how they wear their masks! They do not enforce social DISTANCING. Shop small y’all! We soon will have no small businesses or lovely restaurants!”

“This is a terribly irresponsible headline Smdh.”

“What a shitty take on a tragic global pandemic.”

“Oh good to know that Philly weekly is an anti-science publication. Unfollowed!!”

“This is a very myopic way of reporting on such a broad and multi-faceted issue…. i guess the good news is that it’s pretty obvious how one-sided this is and how clearly PW is trying to get at your emotions so they get more ‘views.’”

“He’s trying to push small businesses out of the city taxing them to death and keeping them closed. It’s a fucking joke.”

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