An epiphany suddenly occurred to Kris Schiffler this morning.
Schiffler was the defiant proprietor of Shady’s, a bar in Albany, Minnesota, who vowed to reopen his establishment in defiance of that state’s lockdown orders prohibiting watering holes like his from conducting business and endangering the lives of potential customers as well as anyone whom those customers subsequently encountered.
The ample demand for the resumption of the availability of Shady’s selection of libations was on full display today as a bevy of universally maskless customers risked their lives while ignoring social distancing recommendations and waiting for the tavern to open its doors in a large crowd outside.
Unfortunately for the apparently parched and thirsty would-be patrons, Schiffler’s legal representatives tamped down his rebellious spirit by explaining the consequences that the Minnesota Attorney General’s office would be likely pursuing were he to go ahead with his noncompliant and defiant plans to ignore state public health regulations.
That’s when the epiphany kicked in and the Shady’s proprietor realized that — despite the fact that few people would fight to reopen a bar that violated other public health orders, such as the requirements that their saloon be free of rodents, roaches, and other vermin and that they wash their glasses before using them to serve drinks to another customer — his was a losing battle.
“The risk isn’t worth the reward,” Schiffler explained his realization and his decision to keep his business shuttered. “They just keep threatening us with more things and more things and more things, and now he wants to audit our taxes!”
A tax audit is one of the last things that a saloon keeper running a business that generates a lot of cash sales wants to experience, as auditors will require the owner to account for every drop of alcohol that the business has resold and match the expected tax revenue per bottle to the taxes actually paid.
Schiffler’s sudden reversal in his “road to Damascus” moment left a lot of unhappy Trump supporters severely disappointed that they wouldn’t be able to publicly display and celebrate their foolish bravado against a virus that they ignorantly downplay, as this video of the moment the bar owner announced his decision to the assembled crowd shows.
BREAKING: Shady’s bar owner in Albany just tells large crowd he can’t open as he planned at noon. Says lawyers have advised him not to contest the Attorney General’s demands here. pic.twitter.com/EdHPWf9AsR
— Paul Blume (@PaulBlume_FOX9) May 18, 2020
Oh, those pesky laws!
Thanks to the lawyers who managed to convince Mr. Schiffler that — even if he didn’t care about how many people might get sick and die because of the stubborn prioritization of his right to serve beer, wine, and mixed drinks above the responsibility to prevent a pandemic from spreading further and threatening more lives of others — it was in his own selfish best interests to remain closed.
If only the patrons lining up to enter Shady’s had equally savvy advisors or less inherent disregard for the health of their community, Minnesota might be seeing a decline in new COVID-19 cases instead of the upwardly rising trend it is now experiencing.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.