Home Coronavirus Sen. Chap Petersen (D?) Turns to Barstool Sports (!) for Advice on...

Sen. Chap Petersen (D?) Turns to Barstool Sports (!) for Advice on COVID-19 Reopening, Gets Ripped as “Demagogue in Denial with “Astounding Tone-Deaf Response”

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For this post, I’m not even going to bother to refute Sen. Chap Petersen (D?)’s points – I’ve already done that here and here and here, to no avail – but instead I’ll just quote Karen Duncan, one of the first (and best) Virginia Democratic political bloggers (her blog was called “Anonymous Is a Woman”), and a continuing source of intelligent commentary on Virginia politics and other topics.  See below for her comments first, followed by Sen. Petersen’s latest rant – which he co-authored with conservative Republican and possible (likely?) 2021 Virginia Republican candidate for governor, Pete Snyder –  in which he’s taken to citing “Barstool Sports” and its anti-union founder, Dave Portnoy (seriously, you can’t make this stuff up) as some sort of authority on health matters, COVID-19, economics, etc. (and anything other than sports or pizza, really). My god…

Now, here’s what Karen Duncan had to say (bolding added by me for emphasis):

Given that we are actually now entering Phase I of reopening right now and all the Governor and Fairfax County officials are doing is trying to move cautiously to make sure it goes smoothly and safely, I’m baffled by this bizarrely timed screed.

What exactly does Dimocrat Chap Petersen want? Just end all precautions? No social distancing, no masks, no sensible precautions to keep people from getting sick, overwhelming healthcare facilities, and just pretend things are entirely normal?

There’s a big difference between mitigating risk and refusing to take any risk.

Chap, you’re not a maverick. You’re a demagogue in denial at this point. You certainly aren’t a responsible leader…

… at least the Governor is trying to do it in a somewhat safe manner, following some of the CDC guidelines.

It’s almost as if Chap wants everything thrown open even more than Brian Kemp in Georgia and some of the other Southern governors who are ignoring their own health officials.

This was an astounding tone deaf response to a safe reopening.

And the consequences of doing it wrong would be more economic devastation. If we get overrun by rising sickness and our ICUs are overrun and we run out of ventilators, small businesses will be snapped shut again very quickly. People who can will retreat back to their homes and all faith in the leaders and businesses that let this happen would be lost. It would crash the local economy.

The choice between public safety and economic well-being is a false choice. That’s why that post is demagogic...

 I don’t live in his district but I’d help any challenger at this point. I’m aware of his other unhelpful posts since this pandemic caused closures. From Day One he opposed any closure and self quarantine, despite every epidemiologist and public health expert recommending it. And I’m aware of his record on guns. And his not too great record in the past on LGBTQ rights.

Exactly. And now, here’s Sen. Chap Petersen’s post, in which he “turn[s] to Barstool Sports for guidance on important policy matters,” arguing that “American businesses cannot exist in an indefinite limbo,” that “Small-business owners such as Lawless, Potter and others cannot remain inside their homes for months, strangling the economy until a cure is found for COVID-19,” and that “[t]hat was not what Virginians signed up for when they followed orders in March to temporarily close businesses and schools.” Uh huh..

It’s time to get back to business, Virginia!

We don’t often turn to Barstool Sports for guidance on important policy matters, but a rant posted last week by Barstool “El Presidente” and successful entrepreneur Dave Portnoy captured the frustration of small business owners and millions of struggling moms and dads across the country.

Portnoy’s complaint is that American businesses cannot exist in an indefinite limbo, unsure of when they will be allowed to get back to work — or whether their businesses will even exist when that day comes. His words succinctly, albeit profanely, crystallizes what so many Americans are thinking right now.

Virginia’s leaders must also recognize the economic anxiety felt by small business owners and their families throughout the commonwealth. Unlike the Walmarts and Home Depots whose sales have risen, small businesses have been devastated by the “shut down” economy of the past two months.

This pain cannot be healed by mere words of solace. What is needed is a defined plan for reopening Virginia’s small business economy, one that gets healthy workers back on the job, while still protecting the vulnerable from the spread of COVID-19.

In early April, we came together with other Virginia business and civic leaders to launch the Virginia 30 Day Fund. Our vision was to provide at-risk small businesses with a direct infusion of cash to help them survive the next month (hence, the “30 Day” in the nonprofit’s name) as they awaited relief.

In just more than four weeks, we have funded more than 200 struggling small businesses across the commonwealth. Due to the prolonged nature of “shut down” orders, which disproportionately impact small and minority-owned businesses, the need for the Virginia 30 Day Fund keeps growing — as does the desperation of the small-business owners. What was meant to be a 30-day job has now become indefinite.

Weeks back, the Virginia 30 Day Fund provided financial assistance to Lawless Welding in Henry County. Chris Lawless, the company’s owner, has poured 11 years of his life into building his business. He wants to keep his 10 employees working and on the payroll. To do that, our economy must reopen.

“I just need to be open and keep my guys on the job,” Lawless said. “If I can’t, they will go on unemployment and because it’s so bad around here, I fear once they go on, I will never get them off.”

Another example is Chicho’s Pizza on the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, also receiving support from the Virginia 30 Day Fund. Without freedom to safely open, Matt Potter and his co-owners cannot be properly staffed, supplied and prepared to serve customers.

Small-business owners such as Lawless, Potter and others cannot remain inside their homes for months, strangling the economy until a cure is found for COVID-19. That was not what Virginians signed up for when they followed orders in March to temporarily close businesses and schools.

If our leaders are waiting for a risk-free moment to reopen Virginia, they will not find one. No such moment has ever existed. But killing our small businesses will not bring about a cure for COVID-19 any sooner.

It is time to reopen our small-business economy. This virus may be deadly. But indecision and uncertainty are equally as deadly in business. In order to prevent more casualties, we must reopen Virginia for small businesses.

Pete Snyder, a Virginia technology entrepreneur, and his wife Burson launched the nonprofit Virginia 30 Day Fund. State Sen. Chap Petersen and his wife Sharon serve on the fund’s advisory board.