‘I’m At My Wit’s End’ Restaurant Owner Says About Possible Move To Purple Tier
San Diego is on the teetering edge of falling back into the most restrictive purple tier, which would be a huge blow to bar/restaurants, gyms, hair salons and other businesses in the county.
For the past several weeks, these places have been operating under the “red” tier, which allows for 25% indoor activity. The “purple” tier closes down the interior of places, meaning they can only operate in outdoor spaces.
This will cause yet another adjustment for businesses, which have already had to shift gears like a NASCAR driver.
“I’m at my wit’s end,” the owner of a popular restaurant told PubClub.com. I’m not using his name because it was during a casual conversation and not as part of a formal interview.
The reason is the state-adjusted COVID-19 case numbers. Currently, this sits at 7.5%. To be in the red tier, counties need to be at less than 7%.
However, the actual positive rate – according to figures released at the same time by the county – is just 3%. So how does it jump to more than 7%?
It’s the “state adjusted” number which uses a complicated formula to factor in some type of average that includes other counties. The best that I can understand it is that it’s similar to the “bell curve” grading system some professors use for determining grades in college classes. So if you earn a B, you may be given a C because those with lower grades pull down the average of the class.
It’s unfair and so is this system to San Diego’s businesses.
I will be honest, I do not understand how the “state adjusted” rate works and is calculated. I have read several explanations and it’s so complicated it makes the U.S. tax code easier to follow by comparison.
All I know is that the positive case rate should be posted in an honest, easy-to-understand system that truly reflects a county’s current situation.
I have seen that number be manipulated, too. A couple weeks ago, San Diego was headed to the purple tier only to have it suddenly drop to 6.9% at the 11th hour. This was after several restaurants let it be known they would not comply with the outdoor-only rules because they would go out of business.
Just last week, Riverside County used something called the “adjudication process” to delay going to purple from red.
Individual businesses have no say-so in the matter, of course. Even if they have zero cases and are complying 100% with the rules.
Another element that is unfair is that the numbers do not reflect are certain areas that are the most infected places (the media loves the term “hot spots”), in which more restrictive measures might make sense. Instead, the state and county like taking a wide paintbrush to color everything, regardless whether it needs it or not.
One final point: the 7% number is based on 100,000 people. So if seven people out of 100,000 test positive, that’s enough to put a country in the purple tier. That, too, seems unfair.