March 25 2020: I know that I haven’t been using this space to talk about what’s going on in America, but we have a significant bit of news today that I need to address. Waffle House has closed hundreds of its locations in the United States. For non-American readers, I need to explain why this is an incredibly bad omen. Waffle House is a restaurant chain that is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They don’t close unless they absolutely have to. If they have any amount of power and food, they’re up and running. Their reputation for tenacity is so great that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) uses an informal “Waffle House Index” as a metric to determine how bad the impact of storms and natural disasters will be.
From Wikipedia: “The index has three levels, based on the extent of operations and service at the restaurant following a storm.”
- GREEN: full menu – restaurant has power and damage is limited or no damage at all.
- YELLOW: limited menu – no power or only power from a generator, or food supplies may be low.
- RED: the restaurant is closed – indicating severe damage or severe flooding.
Waffle House is also strongly associated with conservative politics. The company donates a lot of money to Republican super-PACS. As the White House is stating that America should be open again by Easter, the company that doesn’t blink for anything less than a major disaster is breaking from partisan ranks. Who are you going to trust, Waffle House or the guy that stared directly into a solar eclipse?
The Latest Information
- 792 confirmed cases in Finland as of Sunday afternoon, 166 more than reported Monday.
- 561 cases are in the Helsinki metropolitan region.
- The military is being deployed to enforce movement restrictions to contain the outbreak.
- An estimated 200,000 Finns have returned home from abroad in the past week, some from high-risk areas, which has created issues with testing and quarantining returnees.
- Restaurant workers are reportedly relieved at the closure order. Many have had few or no customers, and felt that opening simply placed them at risk.
- So far that Kainuu region, which borders Russia, has had no reported cases. They remain under the same restrictions for domestic travel as the rest of the country.
- Still just 1 person in total has died so far.
Please be sure you’re getting information from reliable sources.