Let’s talk about double standards.
Last week, in his first announcement regarding the rollback of COVID-19 restrictions, Governor Larry Hogan announced that he was rolling back certain restrictions. Of those restrictions being rolled back included eliminating the restrictions on boating and reopening the playgrounds. The Governor’s orders still gave county governments the flexibility to keep their restrictions in place.
Anne Arundel County Executive and wealthy horseman Steuart Pittman has not lifted the restrictions on playgrounds. More on that in a second.
I had the opportunity to go to Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis this morning. The park, for those of you who don’t know, is a park near Annapolis on the South River that provides an opportunity for recreation. There are trails, there are playgrounds, there are pavilions, there is a visitor’s center, and there are boating facilities, among other things.
So you will be very surprised to learn what I saw later.
Not a single Anne Arundel @RecParks employee wearing a mask or social distancing at Quiet Waters Park.
— 'The Murder Hornet' Brian Griffiths (@BrianGriffiths) May 13, 2020
That’s right: in a world where Steuart Pittman is keeping the playgrounds and the boating facilities closed, the employees of his Parks and Rec Department can’t be bothered to even wear masks. In a public setting. Near park patrons.
Apparently in the world of Steuart Pittman, rules on requiring masks and social distancing are for the little people, the people who aren’t providing “essential services”. But at the same time, Pittman is having Parks and Recs employees work in the public without protective material and without social distancing from their fellow employees or the patrons.
What an odd double-standard that Pittman has created here: You can’t use the neighborhood playground in the community, but come to our parks and see our employees who aren’t even provided with the required masks!
The problems with this double standard go beyond Pittman though.
When “essential employees” working for a county government that, as of this morning, has not followed Governor Hogan’s lead for reduced restrictions on activities such as boating and playground use while simultaneously sending employees to work among the public without a mask, the rest of the people notice that. While it was probably coincidental that most of the other park patrons did not have a mask on either (even when they got close to other people), that message is going to be seen by other people. Those people, many of whom are already disinclined to wear a mask in the first place, stop wearing masks.
And that’s where the real trouble begins to start as we start re-opening the state and the country.
Steuart Pittman’s double standard may be fun to note politically, but it’s no joke that it sends a terrible message to county residents. But again, this is the same type of failed leadership we have seen time and time again from the wealthy horseman.
P.S.: Wear your freaking mask.