An open letter to the public, and to officials of the city of Napa, the county of Napa, and the State of California:
We’re re-opening our art gallery in downtown Napa not later than 11 a.m., Monday, May 4th. Appropriate and adequate social-distancing protocol will be in place and observed. City, county, and state officials are being notified, with encouragement to adjust any policies and plans accordingly.
As of next Monday, our gallery’s doors will have been closed, by county and state order, for six weeks and three days. Over that span, the county of Napa, population 137,744 at last count, has recorded two deaths attributable to the COVID-19 virus, both from over three weeks ago, with 60 confirmed cases in the county total, of which 26 have recovered, by the most recent county report.
Linda and Quent Cordair of Quent Cordair Fine Art say they will reopen their gallery on Monday.
As of last Monday, according to the Register, there were three COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the county, including the one in intensive care.
We’ve been averaging fewer than two new cases reported daily since the first two were reported on 3/22. There were no new cases reported in the county this past Thursday.
Testing for the virus is now available. Our hospitals — Kaiser, the Queen, Adventist Health — are all fine. As of today, there is no extant emergency in Napa County, no evidence of an imminent crisis, no evidence of an impending situation that wouldn’t be well manageable with available resources. It’s past time to start re-opening the local economy, with care, sensible precautions, continued and increased testing, and attentive monitoring.
For those for whom art is essential, the experience of enjoying the paintings and sculpture in our 3,000-square-foot space — a limited number of guests at a time, observing our no-touching policy — will be as safe or safer than venturing to Home Depot, Target, Walmart, the supermarket, the mini-mart, the liquor store, the gas station, the dog park, or even the restaurant for picking up take-out.
We have 30 artists and their families relying on us for support. We have employees to employ. We have bills to pay. We’ve risked everything; we’ve worked too hard and fought too long to bring our business to life, to keep it alive, and to grow it over the past 24 years to sit passively and watch it die for the unwillingness of some in the community to permit others to live and work on their own terms, to accept and deal with any marginal risk at their own judgment and discretion.
We welcome other Napa business-owners willing to join us in re-opening next Monday, if and as they are able and deem proper -- but we’ll open alone if necessary.
Public officials: know that we’re prepared to risk fines, arrest, or jail. We’re pursuing resources for any necessary legal challenge, up to the Supreme Court if necessary. Our constitution and system of government was created and established to secure the right of each and every individual in these United States to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
There can be no life without work; there can be no work without liberty; and, with so many others, we’re increasingly unhappy being unable to work and live for lack of liberty. The present situation is untenable, unacceptable, unjustifiable. It’s unhealthy and unsustainable. Not dying is not living.
We’re going back to work. We hope to see you in the gallery soonest, hopefully to enjoy the art. If not, know that we’re prepared to defend our right to live, work, and interact freely, and that we will indeed defend our right to do so, if and as necessary.
Let’s not make it necessary. Please join us in working our way back to living well and fully — living mindfully, sensibly, healthfully, and productively — while respecting every individual’s right to work and to sustain their own life and well-being as they may.
We have an extraordinarily challenging road ahead. Let’s get Napa back to being Napa, with hope and optimism that it isn’t already too late to do so. Every day and every hour counts. We must get back to work, back to living, as well and as quickly as possible, while continuing to observe reasonable precautionary measures. It’s time.
Quent and Linda Cordair
Quent Cordair Fine Art