Letter: What does it mean to be a free country?
Today at City Market Avon, I saw a pregnant young woman shopping without a face mask. I commented politely to her that she really should wear a mask, to which she replied that she chooses not to, that it is a “free country,” and that I should mind my own business. I replied that it was my business because, just as my life is endangered if someone speeds, my life is endangered when someone doesn’t wear a mask.
Of course, masks are “recommended” at this point but not the law. However, for those who think that they can do whatever the heck they want, I would remind them that there are all sorts of courtesies and conventions that we have toward one another that are the fabric of our social contract with one another as citizens to be considerate and protective of one another. We know to cover our noses or mouths when we cough or sneeze — this is just one step further given the nature of COVID-19. A mask is just a basic but important courtesy at this point.
I applaud the letter published on June 20 where about 70 individuals asked for masks to be compulsory since so many of our fellow citizens are flaunting this “free country” notion and not wearing masks. Now the question is, how to enforce what should be a no-brainer. A couple of weeks ago a gentleman wrote in that it would be costly and therefore impractical to have someone stationed at the entrance to stores. An alternative would be to have store employees carry a few masks and offer them to shoppers who don’t have them and ask them to pay for it at the checkout (or recycle cloth ones that are then washed?). That nominal charge might begin to work as a deterrent. I should add that she was the only person I saw this morning who didn’t have a mask, which was very reassuring.
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