Breaking: DC lifts stay-at-home order, restaurant workers get "back to work" order

At 12:01AM on Friday, Mayor 29, Mayor Bowser lifted DC's stay-at-home order, removing the power of police to openly arrest people in disfavored neighborhoods for just for being away from their homes. For those in neighborhoods where police have not used the stay-at-home for harassment, the main change is "back to work" orders for those working in a long line of businesses not deemed "essential" by government.

The DC government still requires six foot separation between people on the street or in businesses except where this is impossible, and requires (presumably businesses) to follow health department guidance concerning masks. There are fears that restaurants will attempt to force "front-of-house" workers not to wear masks, this could be pre-empted by directly requiring masks in indoor businesses as in places ranging from New Mexico to Maryland. ANYONE entering any indoor environment (even a porta-potty) should wear a mask, and anyone at a protest should mask up for protection against both viruses and police cameras.

A word on masks: Please DO NOT PATRONIZE any business that appears to be or is suspected of requiring anyone to work without a mask. It is known that cloth masks give a wearer about a 50% reduction in the risk of contracting the flu in healthcare settings and that N95 masks are about twice as effective, maybe more if carefully fitted and discarded after every use. The author field tested this against the common cold, for the past two years taking the first breath after hearing any unknown person cough throgh their raised T-shirt. The result was half as many colds over two years of this practice. When everyone wears a mask in close settings however, far more effective mutual protection results from the masks very effectively intercepting outbound droplets that can carry virus on each person's breath. The simplest cloth mask on every person near you probably will outperform the best N-95 respirator used only on your own face. You reciprocate with your own mask.

A word on restaurants and contact tracing: The mayor's order lifting the stay at home advises restaurants to keep customer logs for purposes of contact tracing. While this has obvious uses in a pandemic, the methods used to contact trace a pandemic are unavoidably identical to those used by governments to determine who talks to who in opposing organizations and social structures. This information thus has more than one use.

If two or more people need to interact in a way that may need to be deniable (say for political/police reasons), than they should avoid restaurants keeping customer logs and any other place where identities may be logged by 3ed parties.This includes any business where credit cards are used or reservations made. Consider using a park instead, and stay outdoors if at all possible. Due to the virus, such activities (if indoors or close) also require decentralized parallel contact tracing arrangements independent of the government if possible. This is simple: if any two or more people who have any way to contact each other interact, each agrees to notify all others if within perhaps two days they come down with symptoms resembling those of the coronavirus. No records are kept beyond what people already know of each other, and there is no central server or group holding the information. In short, distributed, peer-to-peer contact tracing can track down infections without also empowering police and detectives.

Creative Commons Licence