In a global pandemic that has made many lawmakers issue “shelter in place” mandates in order to protect public safety, there have been some questionable exceptions.
Enter the Rams, Chargers, Dodgers and Los Angeles county public officials.
On Friday, officials announced that SoFi Stadium, the new home of the Rams and Chargers, and renovations to Dodger Stadium, will continue despite calls for all non-essential workers to remain home.
Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a “Safe at Home” order that exempts businesses and agencies that provide essential services such as grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, doctor’s offices, and critical infrastructure.
Somehow, as part of follow-up directives put in place at both the city and state levels, certain commercial construction — including the respective stadium projects — qualified as essential.
What is “essential” about a sports stadium being built on time?
When asked what the criteria was used to determine what was “essential” construction, the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health gave a dizzyingly circular defense that , because the governor’s order identified construction work as essential, they were essential.
A similar line of BS was being pushed by Dodgers team president, Stan Kasten earlier this week. Dodger Stadium construction workers were “fully compliant with all of the regulations of the county, city, and state as well as the CDC and [World Health Organization],” Kasten said in a video posted to YouTube. “All of those things are super important to all of us. “
If these things were actually “super important” there wouldn’t be any construction on these sports stadiums. If health and safety were truly a priority, these teams and the county and state governments would halt all work on these stadiums.
The entire medical health care system is being overwhelmed by the impact of this disease and continues to struggle with lack of medical resources.
With that in mind, if these workers are going to be forced to keep working and endanger themselves and others with whom they come into contact, shouldn’t they be helping to build facilities that can actually help contain this disease? Couldn’t these resources be put to better use? You know, for like, building a hospital?
But that wouldn’t serve the real priority here — the teams’ bottom line — would it?
The United States now has more known cases of COVID-19 than any other country.
This isn’t business as usual anymore, where letting billionaire business owners skirt the rules is just a victimless violation.
People’s lives are at stake.
Continuing construction on these projects endangers entire communities — all for the hope of playing host to a few games and concerts that might end up being canceled anyway because of the unpredictability of this pandemic.
ESPN reported that SoFI stadium job-site personnel are working with their general contractors to increase health and safety protocols.
You know how we could truly increase their health and safety?
Postpone the work on these stadiums. We shouldn’t even be having the conversation at this point