Virginia's Northam values liquor stores over churches
Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia stood behind a podium at the front of the room -- wearing no mask -- but looking like he had an important message to deliver.
He was issuing an order to the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority. As part of his strategy to deal with COVID-19, Virginia restaurants and bars would now be able to sell mixed drinks for takeout or delivery.
"All Virginia restaurants that remain open are now takeout or delivery only," Northam said. "Allowing them to sell mixed beverages with takeout or delivery orders will help them augment their revenue streams so they can continue to operate and employ Virginians."
While Northam was making this and other announcements, a photographer from the Associated Press was taking pictures. One showed there were at least 21 people in the room -- in addition to Northam.
The date was April 8, 2020.
That gathering of more than 20 people around Northam occurred more than two weeks after he had issued an executive order making "all public and private in-person gatherings of more than 10 individuals" a crime.
It occurred more than a week after he had issued another order clarifying that his ban on gatherings of more than 10 people "includes parties, celebrations, religious, or other social events."
Northam did make exceptions to his rule. It did not apply, for example, to "essential" businesses -- including Virginia retailers that sell beer and wine.
He also, apparently, did not apply it to his own press conferences.
Nor should he have.