No, that wasn’t a typo in the title suggesting that the city has banned public defecation. (They wouldn’t do that anyway. California doesn’t enforce “quality of life crimes.”) Manhattan Beach, a suburb of Los Angeles is beginning the process of removing all of the chairs, benches and tables from public property. Yes, Manhattan Beach has banned “sitting in public” as of today. The seating facilities will remain in storage “until further notice.” As if you needed me to tell you, this is ostensibly being done to combat the spread of the dreaded novel coronavirus. (NY Post)

A city near Los Angeles is closing outdoor seating spaces on public property starting Sunday evening amid a spike in COVID-19 cases across the county.

The city, Manhattan Beach, is located along the Southern California coast, about 20 miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles.

Starting at 10 p.m. on Sunday, tables and chairs in outdoor seating spaces will be removed until further notice, the city said.

The announcement comes after the city on Saturday announced that COVID-19 cases – currently at 821 – have nearly doubled since Nov. 1.

The Mayor of the city is urging people to stay home except for “work, essentials, and going outdoors for exercise.” The majority of people exercising outdoors are either walking or running. When they finish, they might like to sit down for a bit and rest, wouldn’t you think?

Precisely how dangerous does the Mayor think sitting is in terms of transmitting the virus? If the park benches are at least six feet long, couldn’t you just put markers on them indicating where people can sit while still maintaining the mandated social distance separation? (Assuming they’re too stupid to figure that out for themselves.) The same could be done for the benches on picnic tables. If there are any individual public seats less than six feet apart you could put a bag over some of them to ensure the minimum distance is being observed.

Instead, she’s going to be sending a bunch of workers all over the city’s public spaces to dig out and tear apart all of the seating and haul it away and look for someplace to store it. Then, at some point, they’ll need to pay the same people to go out and reinstall them all. Not exactly an efficient use of resources, is it?

But all of those observations just deal with the logistics of the order instead of the underlying absurdity of the entire idea. Your municipal government is actually going to ban sitting? What if people simply choose to stand around instead? And what about residents who are partially disabled? They’ll have even less motivation to get out and exercise if they can’t comfortably rest when they need to.

Hey, here’s an idea for you. The virus is transmitted through the air, typically when people cough or sneeze. How about you just ban coughing and sneezing in public? That would cut transmission of the virus way down. Or, better yet, just ban breathing. If nobody is exhaling, nobody else will catch COVID!

Huh. Maybe I should have run for Mayor of Manhattan Beach. I never realized I was such an effective problem-solver. I’d be a natural!