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Covid has finally hit Minocqua, and I'm Mad

Kirk Bangstad

So my restaurant had to shut down since Thursday because we had an employee test positive for Covid. We’re all getting tested and working through the health department protocols, and until those results come back, it just isn’t responsible to serve food and drink.

We were honest and transparent on our restaurant’s Facebook page, because that was the right thing to do. I try not to be political on that page because that would be bad for business. That page is for showing people our awesome tasting food and beer, and of course alerting our customers to our having to shut down because of Covid.

On my political page, I have another message.

I am mad.

I am mad because since this pandemic started, my staff and I have worked very hard to create a safe environment for our employees and customers. And in all honesty, our employee didn’t get it at work, he/she got it elsewhere and brought it to the restaurant. Am I mad at that employee? Of course not. Am I frustrated? Hell yes.

My business is now losing money, and it feels unfair.

It feels unfair because many people in my community, and many visitors among us, care more about their individual freedom than the health of their neighbors.

Some refuse to wear masks in public because of “freedom.” Some feel comfortable drinking at indoor bars without masks when science has shown it’s the most risky activity. Some feel comfortable going to house parties and boozing with lots of people in a confined space without masks when science has shown how risky it is to do so.

My county’s sheriff’s department felt comfortable thumbing its nose at our governor’s mask mandate when other sheriffs around the state responded thoughtfully.

My state representative and opponent Rob Swearingen felt comfortable suing our governor to re-open our economy without a plan. He felt comfortable silencing our county health officer Linda Conlon for telling the public if they were exposed at a bar.

The result of ALL OF THIS political crap is that most of the restaurants in Minocqua are closed down during the PEAK of our tourism season.

Our economy is suffering WAY LONGER THAN IT SHOULD HAVE SUFFERED because we didn’t institute a graduated plan to re-open, and didn’t institute a plan to provide stimulus to those industries that were too dangerous to re-open safely.

Why? Because our Republican politicians and the media that supports them are FAILING US.

This is not about both parties sucking, it’s about Donald Trump trying to save his presidency by downplaying this virus and all the spineless people in his party including Rob Swearingen failing to stand up to him and LEAD. It’s about conservative new outlets caring more about making money than passing along honest science to their viewers so our whole country can be on the same page.

The whole world is laughing at or pitying us, but somehow a very large plurality of our country refuses to acknowledge the truth.

I’m frustrated. 161,000 people have died in the US, over 1,000 more every day. 1,000 have died in Wisconsin. It’s time for everyone to get on the same damn page and vote out the cowards who refuse to help us, regardless of your party.

Written by Kirk Bangstad on 08/08/20

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