Thumbs up to beleaguered restaurants, bars and entertainment venues being able to open their doors to customers beginning on Monday.

The leisure and entertainment sectors in Minnesota have taken the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, being forced to close to indoor service for several months and facing other restrictions.

That’s through no fault of business owners. Neither is it the fault of Gov. Tim Walz, who is charged with protecting public health and managing the pandemic as best he can.

But no one wants to see small business owners who’ve put so much work and money into their venues suffer or fail. Beginning Monday those businesses will be able to open to 50% capacity and begin to regain some of the cash flow they and their employees desperately need.

It is up to all of us to ensure that we take the steps necessary to keep COVID case numbers down and keep businesses open.

Mask shenanigans

Thumbs down to the Minnesota lawmakers who refused to wear masks during the opening of the legislative session this week.

Even as the Senate rose to honor Jerry Relph, a former senator from St. Cloud who died of COVID-19, at least eight senators remained without masks on the floor, MPR reported.

Relph, 76, who lost his bid for reelection in November, was one of several Republican state senators who tested positive for the coronavirus after attending a post-election party.

Even with the tragic loss of a former colleague, some lawmakers refuse to take mask-wearing seriously, choosing to make it a political statement rather than seeing it as the public health measure that it is. If elementary school children can handle following the guideline, so should adults at the Capitol.

Constituents should demand better of the lawmakers they put into office.

Fulfilling their duty

Thumbs up to the members of the 117th Congress, who returned to complete the Electoral College vote count hours after a fanatical mob invaded the U.S. Capitol to disrupt those formalities.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it well when the joint session resumed Wednesday night: “We will not be kept out of this chamber by thugs, mobs, or threats. We will not bow to lawlessness or intimidation. We are back at our posts. We will discharge our duty under the Constitution for our nation. And we are going to do it tonight.”

After Congress finished a normally routine chore — one infected this election cycle with unnecessary and damaging drama — President Donald Trump promised “a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power.”

Sorry, Mr. President, but that ship sailed weeks ago. There has been nothing smooth, orderly and seamless about this transition. And that is purely the fault of Trump and those fellow Republicans who amplify his constant lies.

Hawley, Cruz and the mockery

Thumbs down to Republican senators Ted Cruz ofTexas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, for dishonesty and creating false narratives about baseless claims of fraud in the U.S. election.

Hawley and Cruz, who each envision themselves as presidential timber, were the ringleaders in a mockery of the constitutional duty to certify the U.S. election.

And thumbs up to Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, who called out Cruz and Hawley. After noting Trump incited the insurrection, Romney said of Hawley: “Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy.”

We couldn’t have said it better.

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