Editorial: Governor, allow the show to go on at Blue Fox Drive-in

Somehow people are choosing sides when it comes to COVID-19. And it’s evidently an oddly shaped virus since there seems to be a lot of different sides.

On one side are people with the mindset of a Whidbey man who strode into a neighbor’s yard to yell at kids who were playing without face masks. On another side are the visitors who crammed like sardines onto ferries and rubbed elbows at Deception Pass on Mother’s Day weekend. There’s a side that just wants, for the love of God, to go back to work without hurting anyone and those who think this is an opportunity for us all to rethink our way of life.

There’s a side that likes to make up conspiracies and those who believe them. Often they are the same people. They know the pandemic is a lie told to keep folks inside while the haughty jackweasels rule the night.

Are there things all sides can agree on? Probably not, but a whole lot of people think the Blue Fox Drive-In should be open for business.

One of those is the Blue Fox Drive-In, the beloved drive-in movie theater near Oak Harbor, which is at risk of closing because it doesn’t qualify to open during the governor’s first phase of reopening. Which doesn’t make a lot of sense. People watch movies from inside vehicles. The restroom and concessions can be managed properly.

There are several ways in which the state’s phased approach doesn’t make sense. Current construction can go forward but new construction cannot. Some limited retail and manufacturing is OK while some is not.

With the huge range of businesses in the state, odd discrepancies shouldn’t be surprising. But these things can be fixed. Fairness and basic decency should dictate the rules.

The owner of the Blue Fox started an online petition to get Gov. Jay Inslee’s attention so that a change can allow the show go on. There was no response.

The governor’s office jumped into action at the beginning of the pandemic when Nichols Bros. Boat Builders asked to be considered as an essential business. As a result, a company that is vital to the island was able to continue to resume work.

The drive-in theater isn’t a big economic engine for the island, but it’s important to the social fabric. Seeing the giant screen go permanently dark would break the hearts of generations of residents who remember the old-fashioned, summertime experience.

The governor’s office needs to act quickly. After all, the government is supposed to be on everyone’s side.