Mayor Joyce Craig's Private Pool Club Immune from Coronavirus? - Granite Grok

Mayor Joyce Craig’s Private Pool Club Immune from Coronavirus?

Earlier this week, Mayor Joyce Craig cast several tie-breaking votes to keep city pools, the Splash Pad, and playgrounds closed for at least another month due to public health concerns. City Health Department Director Anna Thomas insisted that the pandemic “is spreading like wildfire” throughout Manchester.

But sources tell GraniteGrok that the city health department is working with Sudden Pitch, an exclusive, private club in the city’s north end, to make sure their pool can operate safely this summer. Mayor Craig and her family are members. To become a member of the club, you must pay a one-time stock purchase of $1,900 plus an annual membership fee and be sponsored by three club members. The Sudden Pitch website indicates that beginning June 16th, it will be offering open swim for children reportedly thanks in large part to Manchester Health Director Anna Thomas’s help in crafting guidelines:

People Will Die

During multiple, heated debates, Mayor Craig and Director Thomas insisted that keeping the pools closed was a matter of public health. Mayor Craig said, “All I’m telling you is the decisions that have been made in the city of Manchester have been made based on data and keeping our community’s youth and adults safe.”

Director Thomas went into great detail saying, “I think the reality is it comes back to whether or not we can control the environment and whether or not you can expect children who won’t comply with most things on most days, especially in those city pools, would abide by those [CDC] guidelines.”

But open swim absolutely should not happen,” Thomas said. “What if you’ve got ten kids in the pool, let’s say, and they’re gonna come in contact with each other. That’s what kids want to do. They want to play in that pool together. There’s no controlling it.”

In response to a motion by Alderman Joe Kelly Levasseur to open all city pools and parks, Alderman Kevin Cavanaugh asked whether or not opening the pools would go against the Governor’s Executive Orders and the Reopening Task Force’s recommendations to keep kids separated. Without hesitation, Craig replied, “The motion that he made, yes, goes against the Governor’s orders.”

At one point, Thomas pulled out her public health club and began to (figuratively) beat the Aldermen with it. “As much as I totally respect the point that, you know, people should be left to be able to make their own decisions, this is not, unfortunately, the scenario that everyone gets to have an independent choice all of the time because it’s a pandemic. So a decision that one person makes can actually impact my health. And that’s why this is spreading like wildfire in different parts of this community. You have 500 active cases right now somewhere in the community that we are actively monitoring. So you have to expect that the public health director is going to say to you, ‘Let’s pump the brakes. Let’s make sure we’re doing this methodically and responsibly.’ And I’m not willing to jeopardize the health of the public. I’ve watched people get very sick, watching people die, and this is not what we want for this community at all. Nobody wants it but you are the leaders who ultimately are going to steer that. So if you want to enact these kinds of things, it may be against the Governor’s recommendations, it might be against what the state recommends, it might be against what I recommend or the department recommends, at the end of the day that’s on you. So if there’s an outbreak and your family member become afflicted, I just want it to be clear and I want to be on the record that is on you. I am recommending against it.”

So here’s what we’ve established. The Mayor insists that keeping the pools closed is a matter of public health. Director Thomas said that Coronavirus is “spreading like wildfire” through Manchester, that kids cannot be controlled, and that open swim “absolutely should not happen.”

Unless of course, you belong to an exclusive club in Manchester’s posh North End.

For some key exchanges in the meeting along with timestamps, check out the bottom of the post.

All of this begs some obvious questions.

  • Is it appropriate for the city’s Health Director to be advocating one set of guidelines for public swimming pools and a different set for a private club of which the Mayor is a member?
  • Why is the data informing public policy different than the data informing Mayor Craig’s private club?
  • Is it appropriate for the Mayor and Public Health Director to be knowingly advising Sudden Pitch to go against the Governor’s Executive Order and the recommendations of the Reopening Task Force?
  • If the Coronavirus is “spreading like wildfire” through Manchester, why aren’t the Mayor and Health Director concerned about an outbreak at Sudden Pitch?
  • If the Coronavirus is “spreading like wildfire” through Manchester, why aren’t we locked down?
  • If the Mayor and Health Director believe that there is a way for a private club to safely operate open swims, why can’t the city employ the same tactics?
  • Do the Mayor and Health Director believe that a privileged class of people is more “controllable” than Manchester’s underprivileged?
  • If there’s an outbreak at Sudden Pitch, may we remind Director Thomas, “That’s on you?”

Unless and until the Mayor provides a reasonable explanation for this apparent double-standard, you’d be forgiven for assuming that this is another example of progressive elitism. There’s one set of rules for the ruling class and another for the people they pretend to champion. They pay lip service to this constituency while sipping Chardonnay under a poolside umbrella and insisting, “We’re all in this together!”

While businesses are closing their doors forever and families are suffering in the city, Mayor Let Them Eat Cake is foisting more restrictions on families that she herself will not have to endure.

Key Exchanges and Timestamps

44:08 Porter asks about Fun in the Sun, pools, and Crystal Lake

44:54 Thomas responds. “Everything that I have in front of me… the one that’s about campgrounds and outside pools on campgrounds – they’re not even allowed to open their swimming pool. And then within health and fitness facilities, if they have a pool there’s no open swim allowed.”

“I think the reality is it comes back to whether or not we can control the environment and whether or not you can expect children who won’t comply with most things on most days, especially in those city pools, would abide by those guidelines.”

“But open swim absolutely should not happen…”

“What if you’ve got ten kids in the pool, let’s say, and they’re gonna come in contact with each other. That’s what kids want to do. They want to play in that pool together. There’s no controlling it. So I hear it. I want in the worst way to those circumstances be different. But I think for the short term, we have to think about alternatives to get us there.”

48:00 Porter follow-up. This is a public health concern.

48:30 Craig: “But always first, every decision that we’ve been making, as we’ve been saying consistently is based on data and based on health and safety of the community first.”

1:11:47 Levasseaur: Why different rules for restaurants and pools vs. protestors?

1:16:52 “All I’m telling you is the decisions that have been made in the city of Manchester have been made based on data and keeping our community’s youth and adults safe.”

2:15:40 Levasseur: Motion to open all city pools and parks

2:16:44 Cavanaugh: Does want to go against the Governor’s order or the task force’s recommendation to keep kids separate instead of more of a swim lane?

2:17:24 “The motion that he made, yes, goes against the Governor’s orders.”

2:21:12 Craig: “And just to clarify, Alderman Shaw, in terms of the CDC guidelines you’re right in terms of chlorine. But the bigger concern is how to maintain appropriate social distancing during free swim. And that’s the major concern that you’ve heard from both our health director, that we’ve heard from the state health director, and that we’re hearing from communities across the country when it comes to public pools and opening them. It’s the free swim and ensuring that kids will stay a safe distance away from each other, again, to keep them safe and healthy and their families safe and healthy.”

2:30:18 Thomas: “As much as I totally respect the point that, you know, people should be left to be able to make their own decisions, this is not, unfortunately, the scenario that everyone gets to have an independent choice all of the time because it’s a pandemic. So a decision that one person makes can actually impact my health. And that’s why this is spreading like wildfire in different parts of this community. You have 500 active cases right now somewhere in the community that we are actively monitoring. So you have to expect that the public health director is going to say to you, ‘Let’s pump the brakes. Let’s make sure we’re doing this methodically and responsibly.’ And I’m not willing to jeopardize the health of the public. I’ve watched people get very sick, watching people die, and this is not what we want for this community at all. Nobody wants it but you are the leaders who ultimately are going to steer that. So if you want to enact these kinds of things, it may be against the Governor’s recommendations, it might be against what the state recommends, it might be against what I recommend or the department recommends, at the end of the day that’s on you. So if there’s an outbreak and your family member become afflicted, I just want it to be clear and I want to be on the record that is on you. I am recommending against it.”

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