Jack & Dan’s Tavern closed indefinitely this week. So did Logan Tavern. A pair of bars central to my Spokane nightlife experience over the past two years. I’m highly skeptical I’ll enjoy another evening inside their doors before I graduate in May.

I anticipated this unfortunate occurrence happening. Both places were open Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and yet, I didn’t dare step foot in them any of those days. Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, doing so would put many lives in danger. Despite that, herds of Gonzaga students flocked to these establishments, many of whom I consider friends.

That disappoints me. I understand the desire to cherish a few final hours at an iconic GU location. I wish I’d been there; I feel sadness in my heart — but not an ounce of regret. Frequenting either bar was not, by any stretch, worth it. Lives were jeopardized by those decisions; in ignoring nationwide and statewide calls for social distancing and avoiding populated locations, the threat of coronavirus multiplied significantly. That’s a self-centered action by students who attend a university in which the mission statement calls us to lead lives for the common good.

Someday, I’ll return to Jack & Dan’s and Logan Tavern. Sure, I likely won’t be enrolled at GU anymore but my day will come. The risk of spreading coronavirus to those with compromised immune systems and endangering their life wholeheartedly trumps the upside of a night at Jack & Dan’s. The former cannot be emulated once coronavirus is combatted; the latter can be.

I do not pen this column in an attempt to righteously perch myself on a pedestal. I am disheartened by the individual behaviors of my peers but I do not consider myself to be a better person in the aggregate. By every stretch, I’ve not conducted myself in an entirely selfless manner since coronavirus emerged as a serious crisis in the United States.

Last week, I spent four days in Las Vegas. I attended nightclubs and bars, rubbed shoulders with thousands of strangers on The Strip and undoubtedly did not adhere to social distancing recommendations and protocols. Those are actions for which I’ll have to accept the consequences. In functioning through a selfish lens, I have played a role in exacerbating the hurdles coronavirus presents in our daily routines and the challenges it poses to the health of the immunocompromised.

Moving forward, I intend to be better. I hope the GU and Spokane community joins me. With recreational and entertainment facilities in Washington state temporarily suspending operations, I ask my fellow Zags to not migrate to bars in Idaho or turn toward house parties. Instead, enjoy small gatherings involving single-digit occupancies in your own residence.

Binge those TV shows you’ve put off. Watch that Oscar-nominated flick your parents keep pestering you about. Put yourself out there and apply for all the jobs about which you’re nervous. Take up reading! Become a board or card game connoisseur. 

If you are staying in Spokane to finish the semester, maximize the remaining time you have with your housemates and strengthen those relationships. For those of age, alcohol-filled hijinks can remain part of your Friday and Saturday nights (or any night you prefer), so as long as they are within the confines of your home.

Do not, for any non-essential reason, opt to engage with large crowds. Adhere to the orders given to us from the Center for Disease Control and Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee. Their instructions are rooted in promoting the common good, a concept we, as a demographic unlikely to have our lives threatened by coronavirus, must support.

From my vantage point, what’s fueling these escapades to local bars and restaurants is the lack of personal investment in the perils of coronavirus. Or, rather, nobody close to them has been affected by the pandemic. Let’s reorient our thought process then. If a stranger inhabited bars or restaurants over the past week, contracted the virus and spread it to someone you love that’s immunocompromised (namely, the elderly), how would you feel about the decision of that stranger to disregard your loved one’s well-being?

The common rebuttal is, “Well, I’m living in a college community, I won’t come in contact with those most susceptible to coronavirus.” Wrong. It’s not about those with whom you’ll interact. It’s about those with whom you interact and who they contact. You cannot control that. You do not know who that bartender at Jack & Dan’s is in close proximity with or who the waiter/waitress at a local restaurant sees each day. You can neutralize the risks of these unknowns by avoiding such places. So, please, I implore you to stay inside whenever possible.

Having the final two months of our senior year experience dramatically lessened sucks. There’s no way around it. I’m bummed the NCAA Tournaments were canceled. I’m bummed about Senior Ball. I’m bummed about Jack & Dan’s. I’m bummed — nay, devastated — I’ll never produce another print edition of The Gonzaga Bulletin.

But those, really, are minor inconveniences as it pertains to this pandemic. The lives of millions are at stake and we, as a community, must endure small sacrifices to protect the health of strangers.

No house parties, no nights at bars in Idaho. Prioritize others before yourself, just as we are called to do by our university.

Jackson Frank is the managing editor and digital editor. Follow him on Twitter: @jackfrank_jjf.

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