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After facing a barrage of backlash, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has backed down from a demand that customers who dine at reopening restaurants allow employees of the establishment to collect their private information for government use.
“I am no longer requiring customers to provide a business with contact information, and businesses should not condition service on a customer’s unwillingness to do so,” he said in a memo published Friday.
He added, “Businesses are still obligated to maintain a customer log of those who voluntarily provide their information.”
It’s not clear what type of sane customer would voluntarily ask employees at a restaurant to jot down their private information.
We are asking visitors to voluntarily provide contact info in case of COVID-19 exposure. It will not be required.
— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) May 16, 2020
Nevertheless, Inslee continued, businesses are encouraged to offer voluntary logging to customers so they may be contacted in the future “if they have been exposed to COVID-19.”
“The information will only be shared with public health officials if you are exposed. Public health officials will contact you to explain the risk, answer your questions and provide resources. This information will not be used for any other purpose, including sales or marketing. If this list is not used within 30 days, we will destroy it,” he added.
He even provided a grammatically incorrect template that businesses may use:
The “Voluntarily” in the headline should read “Voluntary” …
The memo did little to ease tension in the far-left state, which, much like every other Democrat-led state, has been beset by lockdown protests for the past few weeks.
Over on Twitter, Inslee’s tweet announcing his back-down boasted a 210 percent ratio as of Sunday afternoon. See some of the stinging replies below:
I’ve learned through my study of history that when you hear a phrase akin to, “I’m from the government, I’m here to help” that is the cue to turn and run. Hence I will not be participating in this optional government program. Those that don’t learn from history…..
— Happy!! (@31Mittens) May 16, 2020
I will comply 99% of the time when I am voluntarily asked to give information. But when the government forces me to give private info I rebel! This is how the stay at home order should have been dealt with as well. You are teetering on revolt @GovInslee.
— outlook (@dbsaysitall) May 16, 2020
Hey #IncompetentInslee, not only are we NOT going to do this, but we’re NOT going stay home. And then we’re NOT going to vote for you. (And you’re NOT going to be governor, and so on and so forth. And also, we’re NOT all going to die, either).
— Ryan McIntosh (@toast423) May 16, 2020
Nope. Nope. Nope. You can’t guarantee this information won’t fall into ill intent hands. You won’t get anything from me. Nice try though. You are over the top here. You don’t support eastern Washington. I don’t support you. I support small business. #JustSayNO
— Stormy Jones (@Stormyj) May 16, 2020
Just went and sat down in a restaurant for lunch after two months of not eating out… Had to go to Oregon since Inslee won’t open up Washington state! It was awesome! And no I didn’t give my information- open our state!
— Kimberly Hart (@Kimberl38594255) May 16, 2020
— Jordan Barta, MBA (@Barta57) May 16, 2020
SHOW ME YOUT PAPERS!!! pic.twitter.com/Fc4rbR44Jg
— Deke Belden (@dekebelden) May 16, 2020
The current backlash isn’t as scathing as the original backlash that erupted after Inslee’s office dropped a “guidance” last Monday that called for restaurants to begin mandatorily collecting data from their customers.
“If the establishment offers table service, create a daily log of all customers and maintain that daily log for 30 days, including telephone/email contact information, and time in. This will facilitate any contact tracing that might need to occur,” it read.
It didn’t help when the governor went on to defend the guidance during a press briefing the next day.
“If you have somebody who becomes sick and they were sitting right next to a person at a restaurant, to be able to identify that person could be very valuable for their health to try to save their life,” he said.
“We want to be able to open restaurants. People are anxious for that and we want to do some common-sense things so that if someone does have an infection at a restaurant, we will be able to save other patrons’ lives. We ought to be able to do both.”
The public clearly disagreed. Why? Because of concerns about privacy violations and government overreach, as noted in a column by Seattle radio station KTTH host and conservative commentator Jason Rantz.
“I will not give any restaurant, nor Governor Jay Inslee, my personal contact information just to dine inside, despite his coronavirus mandate,” he wrote.
“This mandate by Inslee is not safe. It’s government overreach. And I don’t trust this administration. It’s really that simple. There are serious and legitimate privacy concerns with Inslee’s over-the-top coronavirus restaurant mandate.”
The public agreed (*Language warning):
As some counties move to Phase 2, we’re releasing guidelines for restaurants so they can operate while protecting the health of customers & staff.
— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) May 12, 2020
@GovInslee, how exactly do you plan on “tracing” us when we go to restaurants? Are you going to obtain our CC or check information? What if we pay in cash? What if I give a false name? Hint: you won’t be able to. Fuck off.
— Sgt. America (@america_sgt) May 13, 2020
Fuck you and your lists @GovInslee
To reopen, Washington state restaurants will have to keep log of customers to aid in contact tracing for coronavirus – The Seattle Times https://t.co/GjG9QnJ7Hx
— Mountain Beaver (@MBWoodcrafts) May 12, 2020
“create a daily log of all customers and maintain that daily log for 30 days, including telephone/email contact information” funny I didn’t realize restaurants were the new gestapo. Yes I’d like a hamburger and my name is john doe and my phone number is 425-fuckyou
— twatteristerrible (@twatteristerri1) May 12, 2020
You are drunk with power. The people will overcome you and your Draconian policies.
— Redhead322 (@Redhead322) May 12, 2020
@GovInslee wants restaurant to make you give them your name and address if you eat in it. Are you will to give out your information to go out and eat. Our constitution give us the right of privacy. I will not give my information to the restaurant. Or to Jay inslee.
— Boomer🇺🇲 (@ksmith6469) May 15, 2020
I sincerely hope someone challenges this contact tracing order in court (with non-Inslee appointed judges) as this is a severe abuse of constitutional right of privacy and overreach on the Governor’s part despite the stated good intentions. This is flat out totalitarian!
— Dr. Walker (@DrWalke58398763) May 13, 2020
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