The Health of Small Businesses: ShortCutz

The small business community has been hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic. Local barbershop ShortCutz on A Street in Hayward is just one of the many businesses that have been temporarily closed and deemed non-essential.

Owner and operator of ShortCutz, Trevoi “Big Tree the Barber” Fortson has been cutting hair for 20 years.  ShortCutz, however,has only been around for 13 years and this is the first time Fortson has ever seen anything like this.

Several barbers alongside Fortson have been out of work for two months and counting due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), resulting in the shop’s employees looking for work elsewhere. “I have a barber who is now working at 9-5 just to make ends meet,” says Fortson. 

Fortson and other barbers in ShortCutz “have been taking classes and test on sanitation and safety prior to the pandemic outbreak,” states Fortson. “Now to be forced to close is horrific.” 

When allowed to reopen, ShortCutz wants clients to feel safe and not be afraid to be in its establishment.

“I will be implementing new routines,” says Fortson. “Wiping chairs prior to service, partitions between each stylist, mask, gloves, and if you’re not being serviced you can stay in your car until we are ready to service them.” 

Those are just a few things Fortson plans on instituting to ensure to safety of his customers when ShortCutz is allowed to reopen its doors. As of now, barbershops are still deemed non-essential, however, a source of income is essential.

Abortion in Quarantine

The coronavirus has everyone concerned with their health. Facemasks and gloves are a must during this time — but some lawmakers are using coronavirus to push a different healthcare agenda.

In February 2020, Florida state legislators passed a bill requiring minors to ask for parental consent when seeking an abortion. As COVID-19 slowly began to spread, Republican Governor Greg Abbott of Texas ordered an immediate halt to all non-necessary surgeries — including abortions where the mother’s life is not at risk. 

In an interview with Vice News, one 17-year-old “Jane Doe” explained the process of getting an abortion in Florida. Fortunately, she was able to get a judicial bypass: the approval from a judge to receive the abortion, so long as the request was filed in the same county as the minor lives. After reaching out to Jane’s Due Process, a facility that helps women navigate the abortion system, she explained how the legal system treated her.

“[The judge] asked why I didn’t want to go through with the pregnancy, and if I knew the abortion could risk my fertility. That kind of scared me, but the person I was talking to at Jane’s Due Process already prepared me for that and told me that wasn’t true.”

According to Dr. Jen Gunter of the New York Times, abortion is not linked to a risk of infertility, as shown in data collected by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

As of March 1, only 29 states require that sex-education be given, 27 of which include HIV and AIDS education. As for Florida, sex-ed options are left up to the various school districts, many of which follow abstinence-only teaching.

Other restrictions in Florida include:

  • In-person, state-mandated counseling is necessary in order to influence the decision of the person seeking an abortion. 
  • An ultrasound is required before the abortion occurs; these two can happen on the same day. 
  • Only a licensed physician can perform the abortion, regardless of the qualifications of other healthcare professionals. 

In regards to the Texas abortion ban, neighboring states have seen an increase in their abortion rates as a result. NPR reports that “clinics in Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada saw 129 patients from Texas between March 23 and April 14, compared with 16 Texas patients during the entire month of February.”

But as Dr. Kristina Tocce explains in her NPR interview, these restrictions ultimately endanger women in more ways than one, as travel is not currently safe. The fight against abortion risks the safety of countless people.
There are more than one health concerns to consider during this pandemic. Fortunately, there are still facilities and officials fighting for women’s right to choose. Many Planned Parenthood locations are still open with reduced hours. See https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn for more information and how help is still available.

Social Distance for All

Despite proof that social distance guidelines have been effective with slowing the growth rate of the COVID-19 virus, Americans are protesting for stay at home orders to end.

On April 30, protesters gathered around the state capitol in Michigan after the news that Governor Gretchen Whitmer plans to extend the stay at home order. Protestors also gathered around the Governor’s home right outside her driveway.

Protestors spoke and shared their concerns with their small business and the Governor’s lack of prioritizing them.

FOX News spoke with Charlie Hurt, opinion editor for the Washington Post and FOX News contributor. “The problem comes when you have politicians who appear to be acting in their political best interest.”

Hurt questions Gov. Whitmer’s true intention to extend the stay at home order and believes it’s a tactic for convincing Joe Biden to select her as his Vice President.

A study done at the University of Kentucky (UK) had been released by the Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise suggests that social distancing and stay at home orders are working.

The report was done by professors of Gatton College of Business and Economics at the UK, as well as fellow professors working in the department of economics. 

The report, Did Social-Distancing Measures in Kentucky Help to Flatten the COVID-19 Curve?, takes confirmed cases of COVID-19 in counties of Kentucky, comparing them to neighboring counties, such as counties in Tennessee. 

The report describes the matters of how a region would have been affected by the virus with no official government restriction in place, with only strictly voluntary self-distancing, or if the region was put under restrictions. 

Aaron Yelowitz, one of the Kentucky professors who worked on the report spoke with LEX18 News on May 1. “The social distancing measures, the stay at home orders, the closing of dining at restaurants, dramatically bent the curve and saved lives,” Yelowitz stated in regards to the spread of COVID-19.

The report states that instead of 4,000 confirmed cases of the virus by April 26, it would have been up to 45,000 with an additional 2,000 deaths. 

Yelowitz told LEX18 News that there’s something to learn from neighboring states as Kentucky will begin to reopen business on May 11, “I think it’s too early.” 

On the widely known app TikTok, users are using this outlet to express their frustrations with people not wanting to comply with social distance guidelines. 

Samantha Lee Hager began her video by briefly explaining the Michigan protests, “but that’s not even the part that pisses me off,” the woman goes into listing peaceful protests against social injustice that were all shut down by police and or faced charges. 

Hager ends her video with her frustrations with the fact that Michigan protesters were being aggressive, ignoring social distance guidelines, forcing themselves into the capitol building while carrying firearms. 

“None of them are arrested and if that isn’t discrimination I don’t know what is,” Hager said. 

@lakewoodpapi shared his belief in the selfishness of the people wanting states to reopen, “it was to force everyone else to go back to work, so they (conservatives) could enjoy life again.” The young man also adds that the majority of the people who would be at risk of the reopenings would be people of color. 

The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) have detailed tips on how to social distance:

  • Follow guidance from authorities where you live.
  • If you need to shop for food or medicine at the grocery store or pharmacy, stay at least 6 feet away from others
  • Use mail-order for medications, if possible.
  • Consider a grocery delivery service.
  • Avoid using any kind of public transportation, ridesharing, or taxis, if possible.

More information on the CDC website:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/social-distancing.html

Link for the full UK report: 

Modified Shelter-in-place Order for the Bay Area

The stay-in-place order that was issued on March 31 has been extended until May 31 by Dr. Erica Pan, Interim Health Officer of the County of Alameda with ease on certain restrictions. 

The key objective of this Order is to ensure that County residents continue to shelter in their places of residence to slow the spread of COVID-19 and lighten the impact on critical healthcare services. 

This new extended April 29 Order supersedes the March 31 Order of the Health Officer directing all individuals to shelter in place. The Order clarifies and extends certain terms of the prior Order to ensure continued social distancing and limit person-to-person contact to lower the spread of COVID-19.

This Order allows a limited number of additional essential and outdoor business activities to resume while the Health Officer continues to assess the transmissibility and clinical severity of COVID-19 and monitors indicators. The Order continues to restrict most activity, travel, and governmental and business functions.

However, the new Order will allow a limited number of additional Essential Businesses and certain lower-risk Outdoor Businesses to resume operating. It will also allow Essential Activities and Essential Travel.

According to Order of the Health Officer No. 20-10, Essential Businesses are “healthcare operations, establishments engaged in the retail sale of unprepared food, canned food, dry goods, non-alcoholic beverages, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, as well as hygienic products and household consumer products necessary for personal hygiene or the habitability, sanitation, or operation of residences. Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing.”

Other Essential Businesses are classified as businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals and construction, but only as permitted under the State Shelter Order and only pursuant to the Construction Safety Protocols.

The new Order also required essential businesses to develop a social distancing protocol before April 3. The Alameda County Health Department now has Social Distancing Requirements according to Order of the Health Officer No. 20-10. 

“Maintaining at least six-foot social distancing from individuals who are not part of the same household or living unit, frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or fabric or, into the sleeve or elbow; wearing a face covering when out in public, consistent with the orders or guidance of the Health Officer; and avoiding all social interaction outside the household when sick with a fever, cough, or other COVID-19 symptoms.”

With new social distancing requirements, Essential Activities have been expanded, but people at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and people who are sick are strongly urged to stay in their residence to the extent possible, except as necessary to seek or provide medical care.

“The use of outdoor recreational areas and facilities with high-touch equipment or that encourage gathering, including, but not limited to, playgrounds, gym equipment, climbing walls, picnic areas, dog parks, pools, spas, and barbecue areas, are prohibited outside of residences, and all such areas shall be closed to public access including by signage and, as appropriate, by physical barriers.”

Violation of or failure to comply with the new extended Order is a misdemeanor and is punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.

Sex and Dating During Covid-19

During the coronavirus pandemic, dating and sex have been put at a standstill because of social distancing or state-mandated shelter-in-place guidelines.

It’s not okay to go out on dates right now unless those dates are over FaceTime or some other video chat app, such as Duo, Facebook Messenger, or Zoom. However, if you are in a solid relationship in the same residence, sex is at the forefront of the mind during these unprecedented times.

According to Health.com, the New York City Health Department issued specifications on COVID-19 safe sex exercises, which recommends people against having sex with anyone outside of your household.

There has been an idea floating around of individuals finding a “sex buddy.”

A “sex buddy” is a person with whom a person has a relationship based on casual sex only. However, in this case, you and said person only having sex with each other during the coronavirus pandemic, which is not recommended.

Alexandria Morrow, a single mother of two, was just getting on the dating scene when the pandemic hit Sacramento and the city, like many others, was put under the shelter-in-place order by California Governor Gavin Newson.

“I just wish I would have got back out there before this happened or at least met someone I can chill with,” Morrow said. “Now I have to use dating apps and catfishing is like a real thing. How am I supposed to know if that’s really you and you don’t know if I am me either. It’s just all so not worth the time. Which I have a lot of.”

Having a sex buddy “goes against social distancing, and you don’t actually know how closely (if at all) they’re staying away from other people,” Jen Gunter, an OB-GYN, states in a New York Times article.

You are your safest sex partner. 

Self-stimulation is both safe and satisfying, and the New York Health Department endorses washing your hands and any sex toys for 20 seconds with soap prior to using them.

COVID-19 Mobile Tracking

Privacy concerns rise as measures become more desperate to help people through the pandemic. As not everyone is following the social distance guidelines, questions on how to ensure the public health have brought in government surveillance as an option.

In California, there are over 43,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19,  in Los Angeles County alone there are nearly 20,000 confirmed cases. Strict social distance guidelines have been placed to help ensure safety, especially in heavily populated areas.

Governor Greg Abbott of Texas has set the stay at home order to expire on Apr. 30 at midnight. Not all businesses will reopen and those that do won’t be at the normal capacity.

On Apr. 30 protesters gathered around the Michigan State Capitol to end social distancing guidelines. Pictures that were uploaded to the UpNorthLive website show that the protesters were not staying six feet away from each other or wearing any form of face covers. 

USA Today reported on Apr. 28 that Apple and Google would be setting up apps in mid-May to help track who has been infected with the COVID-19 and if you have been in close proximity with a person who has the virus.

However, this leaves a lot of worry for potential users and their private information. People worry about who will have their direct information, and for how long.

Australia has already begun using this technology and about two million people have downloaded the app, COVIDSafe. Philip DeFranco, a popular YouTuber, recently posted a video to his channel discussing the progress Australia has made with digital tracking of the virus.

“Very notably here the app is not mandatory. If you want it you can get it and the Australian Government will not collect location data,” DeFranco stated.

The Australian Government pointed out that because it uses Bluetooth, the information is encrypted into the phone and no one, not even the user, can log into private information. The system will erase all data that’s been collected after 21 days on a repeated cycle.

The COVIDSafe app has no power to enforce isolation, restrictions, or any laws. All information concerning the app itself was given out by the health administrator of Australia and nothing has been set in law. 

“The app is already extremely popular,” DeFranco added as Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted out on Apr. 27 that over 2 million people have downloaded the app.

DeFranco added the fact that the Australian government stated that in order for the app to become effective in slowing the spread of the virus, 40% of the population need to download the app. The Prime Minister also noted that the more people download the app, the sooner economical restrictions would be lifted.

The country reported that the daily infection growth-rate is less than 1%.

Google and Apple have stated that all apps would be completely voluntary, “Google says access is granted only to public health authorities whose apps have to meet standards for privacy, security and data control,” as reported on USA Today.

The tracking app would work similarly to the COVIDSafe app in Australia, in that it uses Bluetooth. The app would also delete information, or “codes” as it is referred.

All apps will be reviewed before being accessible to the public.

In Loving Memory of Sergio Rossi

Italian footwear designer Sergio Rossi passed away on April 2 at the ripe age of 84, after contracting the coronavirus and being hospitalized for days in the intensive care unit of the Bufalini hospital in Cesena. With his passing, Italians grieve because a part of them is lost as well.

Rossi, born July 31, 1935, is part of an essential group of designers, from Baldinini to Pollini, and all in between, who made the art of Italian footwear iconic.

Learning the art of shoemaking at age 14 from his father, Rossi became a skilled craftsman early in life and he took pride in selling his hand-made sandals on the beaches of Romagna. Rossi started selling his first shoes in Bologna stores in 1966, before launching his namesake brand in 1968.

In the 1970s Gianni Versace approached Rossi to work on a collaboration. Their union, now famous, was immediately greeted with great ebullience by the world of fashion, marked as a meeting between two geniuses.

Continuing on his rise into the 1980s, Rossi’s brand formed close and deep ties with multiple fashion houses, producing shoes for Dolce & Gabbana (from 1989 to 1999) and for Azzedine Alaïa.

In the late 1990s, the Sergio Rossi brand was bought by the Gucci Group. In December 2015, “Sergio Rossi” returned to Italian ownership, purchased by Andrea Bonomi.

Over the years, Rossi’s masterpieces have been favored with some of Hollywood’s elite actresses, such as Anne Hathaway, Nicole Kidman, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Halle Berry.

After working alongside his father for years, Gianvito Rossi launched his own business in 2006.

“There are those who have had the good fortune to transform their art into work and those who have the extraordinary talent of transforming their work into a work of art,” Gianvitio wrote in a statement. “Sergio Rossi was this man. A husband, father, grandfather, and progenitor of a family that followed his example.”

Rossi’s family honored him on Friday, April 3, a day after the legendary footwear designer passed.

“The family offers, with love, their last goodbye: ‘With the unquenchable fire of your passion, you taught us that there are no limits for those who love what they do,’” Gianvito added. “Goodbye, maestro.’”

Tiger King First Impressions

By: Gabriella Mendez

Staff Writer

Carole Baskin and Joe Exotic have become household names within the past few weeks; with everyone binging during the quarantine, “Tiger King” has emerged as one of Netflix’s top 10 series in the United States. 

Initially jumping between the perspectives of three owners of private zoos, the viewer expects nothing more than an exposé of the illegal animal trade, or perhaps an investigation of the government’s role in ignoring it. But the main appeal of the series is the lack of morality from nearly every party.

Among the initial three owners (Joe Exotic, Carole Baskin, and Doc Antle), a moral hierarchy begins to form in the viewer’s mind. Joe prides himself in employing the less fortunate, Carole in her humane treatment of her animals, and Doc on…himself. But as the producers continue to introduce more characters — and yes, they are characters — it becomes clear that there is no single “bad guy”.

There seem to be only few people with a moral backbone, most notably “Saff”, Rick Kirkham, and Joshua Dial. All once employed by Joe Exotic, they are the closest thing to a voice of reason in this entire series. They provide testimony for the unthinkable claims made, and become the only people that the viewer can really believe — despite the fact that they are too have profited off of the illegal animal trade.

As the documentary carries on, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the outlandish stories and conspiracies brought to light: did Carol Baskin kill her husband? Were Joe’s husbands really gay? Is Doc Antle’s zoo a sex cult? These questions sweep the viewer into a gossipy and taboo narrative that ultimately has nothing to do with big cats. 

So much of the documentary focuses on the relationships of the zoo owners, that the lives of the animals fall into the background. The viewer completely forgets that the animals are guilty of nothing, and yet continue to be taken advantage of.

According to the New York Times, multiple interviewees had been told that the film was to be the “Blackfish” for big cats: referring to the 2013 documentary that exposed the dangerous and unethical practices of SeaWorld. The plight of the animals is only touched on in the last few moments of the series, which is admittedly upsetting.

After the premiere of the series, Netflix released a remote follow-up episode interviewing some of the key players. Erik Cowie, formerly employed by Joe Exotic, expressed his pure disdain for the now incarcerated Tiger King, saying that he was “here for the cats”. Offering even more insight into the workings of the zoos, the sequel answers a great deal of questions that the viewer may have afterwards.

Delving into the world of private zoos, “Tiger King” is more than a six-part documentary. Viewers are subjected to countless plot twists and absurd events straight out of a fever dream, but ultimately have to remember that the animals are still suffering. Regardless, the series is undeniably captivating, and should absolutely be binged in one sitting.

California Apologizes to Japanese Americans

On Feb. 20, the California State Assembly passed HR 77, a resolution that officially “apologizes to all Americans of Japanese ancestry” for supporting their forced removal and incarceration during World War II.

The bill includes the history around Executive Order No. 9066, the executive order authorizing the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans, more than two-thirds of which were native-born American citizens. The order was signed by then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Feb. 19, 1942.

“The redress movement started in the 1970s… to see an official apology and restitution from the government,” says Chabot College history professor Kay Fischer. More than 500 Japanese Americans testified in congressional hearings, which led to a 1982 commission report and eventually the 1988 Civil Liberties Act.

“The report stated it was racial prejudice, war hysteria and failure of political leadership that led to the policy of mass incarceration,” Professor Fischer continues.

HR 77 also mentions the actions of California’s legislature in 1943, when it recommended Congress remove U.S. citizenship from Japanese dual citizens and to take and redistribute the “implements and commodities” left behind by Japanese Americans while they were incarcerated.

The bill was authored by Assembly Member Albert Muratsuchi, a Democrat from the 66th district, who represents part of Los Angeles County.

In the past, Muratsuchi had led the Assembly’s annual commemoration of Feb. 19 as “the Day of Remembrance” but said that this year he “wanted to do something different.”

Muratsuchi wants California to “lead by example,” he told the Pacific Citizen. “[O]ur nation’s capital is hopelessly divided along party lines and President [Donald] Trump is putting immigrant families and children in cages.”

Six Japanese Americans who had been incarcerated under EO 9066, as well as descendants of two others, were present as special guests when the bill passed by unanimous consent.

A similar bill, SR 72, is being drafted in the California State Senate. The Assembly and Senate are currently adjourned until May 4 due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

Professor Fischer developed the Asian American History series for the college. Her upcoming classes on the subject include Ethnic Studies 10 in the summer semester, and Ethnic Studies 42 and History 42 in Fall 2020.

The Health of Small Businesses: Eon Coffee

Eon Coffee is a restaurant on Hesperian Boulevard in Hayward, walking distance from Chabot College, one of many businesses that have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Eon has some savings, but coffee shops tend not to have big margins. The manager, Martin, hopes things will go back to normal soon.

“We are losing money, I don’t know exactly how much,” Martin explained. “But I’m afraid if I close, [we may] lose a lot of customers.”

The number of customers is now at one-third of normal. Eon has cut its slower evening hours to compensate, now closing at 5 p.m. instead of 10 p.m.

Eon has had to find alternative suppliers to get everything it needs. For instance, the bakery that used to deliver bread to Eon every day has slowed to three times a week and limited its options.

Chabot student Lucia goes to Eon about two times a semester but is “not buying from any coffee shops” right now.

Chabot student Antonio would consider picking up food to-go from Eon in the current situation. “I have been there a few different occasions, when I’m getting coffee before class or a sandwich or something.”

Customers stand at least six feet apart and employees regularly clean surfaces with disinfectants and bleach. The door is propped open so people do not need to touch the handle.

The manager allows the employees to decide if they feel safe to come to work each day and makes sure to provide masks and other equipment to those who did come.