The Charleston Mercury was contacted today by one of Charleston’s most successful walking tour guides, who advised us he was still prohibited from earning a living. This week he was forced to turn down two tours, as city of Charleston officials advised him he would be fined $1,067 if he did so.
Restaurants are open for open-air seating and 50 percent capacity indoor seating. Retail stores are open. Home/Work has been suspended. Hotels are accepting guests. And let’s not even bother to count the number of national “big box” stores that never closed.
Boat landings, parks and beaches (to a large extent) are alive again; normalcy is taking modest steps toward its return.
And yet this one niche business is still being held hostage — despite the fact it is the safer than all the other businesses now back in business. Entirely open air, with no need to be within six feet of anyone.
This leads us to some questions — If walking the streets talking with others is legal, are walking tour guides being stripped of their right to “freedom of speech”? If walking the streets with others is legal, are tour guides being stripped of the rights regarding “freedom to assemble”?
In another shocking phone call, we spoke with a close friend to the Mercury who lives on the upper Peninsula, who told us he walked around the block to find his car towed. He contacted the city. They advised him, “Yes, we had it towed. It hadn’t moved in seven days.”
During a global pandemic? When Home/Work was the law of the state?
At least in these two cases, the city needs to offer far better leadership; citizens of the Holy City deserve much than this.
Image courtesy Wikimedia, user Townsendma30, CC-SA-4.0