To Eat, Perchance to Dine

Health inspectors were shouted out of a Vancouver restaurant on Saturday [03 Apr] by patrons dining indoors in contravention of public health orders. . . . [Vancouver Police Const. Tania] Visintin says no one was arrested at the eatery and no tickets were issued, adding any further action would be taken by provincial health authorities.CBC

Given last week’s discussion, what struck me first about this article was its use of “dining” in almost the same breath as “eatery.” Why isn’t “dinery” a word? It could be one, if we wanted it to. After all, it’s clear no one is in charge of the language. We can do whatever we like.

What struck me second was that the diners at this eatery seem to think they can do whatever they like, too. I’d suggest they channel their frustration and irritation through the mechanisms in place to give feedback to elected officials, rather than shouting at enforcement officials.

“Harassment of enforcement officials will not be tolerated, and closure orders by Vancouver Coastal Health or any other health authority must be respected,” Farnworth [BC’s public safety minister] said in a statement.

Well, closure orders must be respected in the sense of “obeyed,” I’d say. We can all have our own views about their logic, wisdom, and necessity, which views I’m sure the Minister will be happy to hear and open to considering. That’s the respect he owes to the diners of Kitsilano.

And now that we’re on the topic, what’s with that word — diner? It means both the person who is eating and, in some cases, the place in which they are eating. It’s clearly time to embrace “dinery.”

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4 Responses to To Eat, Perchance to Dine

  1. Jim Taylor says:

    I note that your two ducks (in a row) are not wearing masks, although they are certainly tete-a-tete.

    Jim T

  2. John Whitman says:

    Isabel – as a military officer, I was taught that you should never give an order you know won’t be obeyed. Put another way, as an officer your job is to lead people and convince them to do willingly what you want.
    Politicians and public health officials might consider adopting the same approach; i.e. if people aren’t following your rules, maybe you need a different approach.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      John – That’s an interesting perspective. I read a piece this week by an(other!) epidemiologist from BC who said that public health measures are getting 80-90% compliance, and if you want better than that, you want something other than humans as your subjects. I don’t suppose the military was ever going for 80-90% compliance, eh?

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