Rules apply to all
Last week, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice told our reporter, “I want all West Virginians to know just how proud I am of all of them. When it really boils down to it, they’ve done a heck of a job.” He was referring to the diligence and sacrifice of ordinary citizens in fighting the spread of COVID-19 and facing the economic challenges that have come along with it.
Yet while Justice was talking about his plan for continued efforts to fight the virus — including pushing winter sports back to March 1 — the governor’s associates at The Greenbrier were planning to host to a New Year’s Eve shindig at which it appears only some of the guests chose to follow the guidelines.
Videos posted on the internet of the event show a closely packed room at The Greenbrier filled with many maskless guests enjoying the evening and ignoring social distancing guidelines.
It looks like fun. It also looks like precisely the kind of event the governor has been telling us to avoid for many months now.
A similar, maskless party was held on New Year’s Eve at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Trump did not attend.
It is true the governor does not handle day-to-day operations at The Greenbrier. The same is true of Trump and Mar-a-Lago. But one would think both leaders would stress to family and colleagues that ALL the enterprises with which they is associated must remain above reproach when it comes to setting an example related to COVID-19
On Monday, Justice addressed questions from several reporters on the event at The Greenbrier. Instead of taking responsibility for what took place, he instead dismissed concerns that not all West Virginians are sharing equitably in the COVID pain.
The issue here is simple. The Greenbrier and Mar-a-Lago, just like every other business in the nation, must follow the guidelines. Americans who have spent months slogging in the trenches fighting against COVID-19 should not have to do so while our leaders and those who run their businesses do not believe the rules apply to them.