It’s only political to some of you.

Dear Feastlings,
I know I’ll be getting some emails. I can already say that Pat, with whom I’ve been having an ongoing discussion about the pandemic and what’s real and what’s not, will write me back, and that’s fine- Pat and I have agreed to disagree and I think each of us believes that the other is a good person who’s just trying to convince the other of his/her valid concerns. But if I make a remark about something the governor has done, it becomes, for some people, immediately political. And so be it. I’ll take my chances with whom I offend with this, because I maintain this from the get-go: for me, at least, this is not a political matter; it’s a public health matter.
For those of you who have yet to be made aware, Doug Ducey yesterday lifted all restaurant-and-bar-related restrictions as far as Covid goes, and prohibited local governments from enforcing mask mandates. The official Pima County stance is that it’s not a great decision,

and even the Arizona Restaurant Association, who leans more than a little bit toward the conservative end of the spectrum, noted today that while it’s not state law to behave in a way that safeguards public health, we might be in violation of OSHA’s General Duty Clause and a handful of other provisions if we take Governor Ducey’s lead.

I’m guessing that since he no longer runs a chain of ice cream shops, he doesn’t have to worry about the angry backlash of a person who feels we’ve violated their rights by requiring a mask within a private business’s four walls. Or maybe he’d be game to put his employees at risk- I don’t know. Maybe he’s one of the people who believes that the pandemic is just the flu. And I know I’ll get emails.
Meanwhile, I’ll tell you, since you’ve read this far, how I feel about it: First, I feel there’s a risk to public health that hasn’t gone away. Second, I feel that putting the importance of making money before the importance of peoples’ safety is a shame. Third, I completely understand the stress and fear that make people decide to open at limited or full capacity, and my heart goes out to those people- it’s scary to feel your business disintegrating beneath your feet. Fourth, I’m overwhelmingly grateful that, between PPP loans and the stunning generosity of this community, we’ve been able to hang on and keep our doors open. Fifth, we’ll open our dining room when we feel there’s no potential harm to our crew and our guests in doing so, and as far as I’m concerned, the jury’s still out on that one.
I don’t say it to stir the pot, or to create fear, or to make a political statement, People will make of it what they will. I’m just saying that we aren’t ready to reopen, and I’m hoping that Pat will be correct when she tells me that I’m worrying for nothing, and that the end of the mask mandate and the end of restrictions in restaurants and bars won’t result in another spike of new Covid cases. In point of fact, I’ll be thrilled if that’s the case. But until I know it, my plan is to hope for the best and assume the worst. Maybe this will drag out the pandemic that much longer and maybe it won’t. Maybe I’m foolish for believing what I’ve been reading, and maybe I’m wise to do so. But I’m not putting money ahead of people unless I’m at the point where I believe that making that money is the only way to keep people safe and protected, and I’m not remotely close to that point right now.
I’m stepping down from my little soapbox now to fill you in on what we do have going on at Feast, even if it’s not seating people in the dining room. There are two virtual wine tastings this weekend, both of which you can still get in on. There’s one tomorrow, with ripe red wines from appellations in Southern France that you may or may not have heard of

The road less traveled- in Southern France

and one on Sunday featuring wines from vineyards that, if you haven’t heard of them, you should know about.

It all starts in the vineyard…

There is, of course, the regular menu, in case you want to grab a little something to eat when you load up for your wine tasting,

and there are the contributions that, with your help, we’re making to the community, like the event we’re doing with Child and Family Resources a week from Thursday

Feast for Families

or the delivery run we’re making with four days’ worth of food to the Primavera Men’s Shelter the next day.

Hot meals for those experiencing cold nights

You’ve also got a week left to place your Easter orders, so here’s that menu for you to consider:

Easter treats

And with that, I ready myself for what emails I’m about to receive. At least, I hope it’s just emails and not suspicious packages.

Your friend, whether you want me to be or not,


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