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Virus pandemic produces mix of defiance and nanny-state across WA

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The 'stay home, stay healthy' order by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has produced a noticeable amount of defiance and nanny-state inspired "tattling" to report or 'rat out' violators to state officials. (photo: KOMO News)

The angst of the COVID-19 pandemic is summed up nicely in this lengthy article about 'stay home' scofflaws and the state website that collects private reports of people ignoring the statewide 'stay home' order.

Are we becoming 'tattle-tale nation' as elected and public health officials demand we all "hunker down" to "flatten the curve"?

According to the Kitsap Sun, roughly 1,000 raw, unsubstantiated reports a day are filed through a website created by Gov. Jay Inslee's administration. Do you suppose its the same 1000 people every day who find a new person to report on? Washington's tendency toward nanny-state-ism produces a lot of nosy neighbors. Remember, Seattle passed a composting law with officials saying they would look through your garbage to see if you're complying.

The story goes on to say, a spokesman said state officials have commonly received allegations of non-essential construction sites and landscaping businesses continuing operation, in violation of the order.

Complaints that come into the portal are parceled out to state agencies that would have regulatory authority over those businesses, said Faulk, the spokesman for Inslee’s office, noting that more than half of them have been sent on to four offices: the state’s Department of Licensing, the Department of Health, Labor and Industries, and the Liquor and Cannabis Board.

The article points out that state officials want cooperation not court convictions regarding the stay home order: the state’s priority at this point is to contact businesses with the hope of bringing them into compliance voluntarily. If a business doesn’t come into compliance, it’s possible the state could revoke the necessary licenses it needs to operate.

Meanwhile, even after Gov. Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order deemed golf courses “non-essential” businesses golfers kept golfing at (South Kitsap's) Horshoe Lake course. As the weather warmed and the links beckoned, business at Alex Roland’s club was strong. His business remained in operation, and Roland said he had received overwhelmingly positive feedback from his patrons.

Kitsap County's defiance was mirrored around Puget Sound with hikers flocking to North Bend's Rattlesnake Ledge or flooding Alki Beach in Seattle around that same time that the 'stay home' order was extended to May 4th. But how do you take away the business licence of a city or state park?

After Inslee’s order, every course in Kitsap complied with the order and shut down for play by March 26 – all except Horseshoe Lake. Roland was aware of the order but told the Kitsap Sun in late March that he didn’t plan to close his doors because he felt he provided a service to a small group of golfers who play Horseshoe Lake frequently.

“Why would you deny them a golf course that’s out in the wilderness and gets 20 golfers a day?” he asked. Roland told the Kitsap Sun last week that his course was averaging closer to 100 golfers a day. His course remained in operation on Monday morning when he received a notice from Inslee’s office with an unambiguous message: “He demanded that I clear the course within one hour,” Roland said.

He complied and by noon, the course shared the same status as the rest of Kitsap’s courses: shut down until further notice.

The defiance is now contributing to the growing call for government officials to find ways to relax the restrictions and re-open the economy. Last week, this Rasmussen poll showed that many Americans are more concerned about their financial health than they are their bodily health.

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