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Letter: Research before you write

Recently ,Steamboat Pilot & Today published an op-ed from The Steamboat Institute entitled, “Unjust restaurant closures are the real ’war on women.’”

The author claimed that, ”a misleading and largely debunked gender pay gap has always been more rhetoric than reality.“ That is simply false. In 2020, women make $0.81 for every dollar a man makes.

The op-ed has almost nothing to do with Routt County restaurants. Instead, it is full of information and data about New York and Los Angeles and fails to mention that restaurants are closed to indoor dining in both locations.



The local closure of indoor dining is not the fault of the restaurants nor the county commissioners nor public health officials. Even if restaurants are as clean and sanitary as an operating room, they cannot mitigate the potential for COVID-19 spread among their guests, and there is research to back that up.

Last summer, Johns Hopkins University used data on credit card spending by 30 million customers in the United States and correlating it to the evolution of the pandemic in each state. The relationship was clear: the more spending on restaurants, the greater the number of infections.



In September, a study from the Centers for Disease Control found those with COVID-19 were twice as likely to have dined in a restaurant in the two weeks prior to their infection.

In November, Stanford University released its study that tracked the smartphones of more than 98 million people. They looked at the number of times users went to restaurants, gyms and hotels. Stanford computer scientist Jure Leskovec, the senior author of the report, said “restaurants were by far the riskiest places” for new infections, “about four times riskier than gyms and coffee shops, followed by hotels”.

None of those studies are directly related to Routt County, but if you look at the data from the state COVID-19 weekly report, you will find local restaurants listed.

There are two bad guys in the story of local restaurant closures, and rhetoric, demonstrations and accusations won’t help.

The biggest monster is COVID-19. The other villain is us — the public.

It is past time for us to be the good guys and follow the rules — masks, distancing, hand washing and avoiding groups. That’s the only way to safely get the restaurants open and businesses back on track.

Linda Delaney

Steamboat Springs


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