BERKELEY (KPIX) – When the COVID-19 shutdown began, we were “all together” but with some companies like Tesla allowed to reopen despite the existing shelter, resentment is growing among those who can. t.
Tesla’s ability to defy Alameda County’s health policy with no consequences sent a strong message to owners of businesses that are still closed.
“If I was a business owner and I followed the rules and someone broke the rules and nothing happened to them, I would probably be looking at something else too,” said Scott Haggerty, director of Alameda County.
The grudge can be seen on the corner of Telegraph and Ashby in Berkeley.
“In the beginning we immediately closed our store, turned off the lights and sent messages to the community saying, ‘We’re all together and we’ll be back,” said Marcy Simon, co-owner of Ashby Flowers.
But even now, the little shop is not allowed to bring flowers outside for customers to pick up on the roadside. It’s legal in the rest of Alameda County, but Berkeley has its own health rules that say florists can only deliver. In the meantime, a long line of people are waiting to enter at the large Whole Foods Market right next to it, which also sells flowers.
Simon is like many others who thought they were doing the right thing but are getting angry now.
“I think a lot of people are definitely now looking for ways to get around the rules, no question about it,” she said.
Clinical psychologist Judye Hess says this shouldn’t come as a surprise. She says that people naturally lose respect for the law if they feel they are being applied unfairly.
“I think it stimulates a kind of rebellion that often goes back to their childhood when their brother or sister got more than they did,” said Hess.
She attributes it to unequal rules and a lack of strong leadership, and wonders if it could add to social disorder.
“I think it could really turn into something like that where everyone is just for themselves and not willing to go on like this,” said Hess.
Back at the flower shop, they seem pretty sure what’s going to happen.
“I think people are going to be a lot more breaking the rules now that Tesla has done this,” said Simon. “We won’t, but others will.”
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