This past weekend I entered two different grocery stores to buy necessities. In both locations there were a couple of people without masks. I get that there may be a medical reason some people don’t wear them, but my gut tells me in these cases they were just looking for attention (no I don’t have proof it wasn’t medical, rather I base it on my many years of watching human behavior – over those years I’ve established a pretty good “gut” feeling about things).
Believe it or not, even though I find their actions a little selfish, I don’t blame the individuals – here’s why. There is no Federal mandate… the Federal government lets the States handle the rules, many times the States pass responsibility to the counties, the counties pass it on to the cities and the cities let individual businesses decide how to implement any policy.
I politely asked a manager at one of the stores what their mask policy was, and the response was “not required, but strongly encouraged”. I replied and said, it could be required if you had a clearer policy. I got the “it comes from corporate” answer. Ah, yes “corporate”.
I believe there are three ways to resolve the mask debate:
1. Stop making anyone wear a mask (for the record, not my preferred resolution).
2. A Federal mandate that specifically defines requirements associated with wearing a mask to resolve the “rules are different everywhere” situation we now live with.
3. Individual companies implementing clear policies for masks.
The grocery stores I went to could easily post a notification at the store entrance stating that anyone not wearing a mask would not be able purchase anything. Pretty simple. I have to wear pants, and now I would also have to wear a mask. If you don’t like the policy, go somewhere that doesn’t require a mask (or pants). I don’t love wearing a jacket and tie, and some places require that attire. I wouldn’t go to those places wearing jeans and a T-Shirt and expect them to accommodate me while requiring everyone else to comply with their jacket and tie policy. If I don’t want to dress that way, I simply don’t go. This really isn’t rocket science…. but here’s the difference, not wearing a jacket and tie won’t get anyone sick, not wearing a mask can.
There is no doubt that retail establishments are in a tough spot, and they don’t want to turn away ANY business right now, but guess what… if they are going to have a vague policy or no policy at all related to mask wearing, or they choose to accommodate the very low percentage of people who refuse to wear one, they are going to lose me as a customer. I guess they need to figure out who spends more, the 98%+ like me, or the non-maskers.
There are many of us who wear a mask believing it helps. Others wear it because it makes high risk individuals like the elderly, those with an underlying medical condition or people who are just plain scared more comfortable. I personally see no down side to being a good human and making others more comfortable during this challenging time.
What puzzles me is why companies don’t take a stronger position. The one grocer I referenced above who told me it was “not required, but strongly encouraged” really has no position. Either require it or don’t – you can’t be a little bit pregnant. Grow a spine and take a position. That position can be no mask required or mask required, but stop putting your customers in the middle of the debate!
Let’s go to the world of make-believe for a minute and assume science is wrong, and wearing a mask really doesn’t help – what is the big deal about wearing one? It’s simply the considerate thing to do. I also personally think it’s the responsible thing to do, but even if that’s not the reason you do it, do it to be kind to those who are concerned or downright scared. If the science is true and the virus can be passed via the mouth and nose, then someone not wearing a mask is being protected by everyone else, but everyone else is potentially at risk because of that one person. I may be wrong, but I would also wager that the one person not wearing a mask is also someone who is more likely to have attended a gathering with little or no social distancing, thus being more likely to have been exposed to the virus. My personal view is that this just seems irresponsible, inconsiderate and self-indulgent.
If you don’t wear a mask, I invite you to consider changing your position – it’s ok, it doesn’t make you a hypocrite, just a kind person. Wearing it won’t hurt anyone. I’ve been wearing one for a while now, it’s really not difficult, seriously it’s super easy!
Businesses – have a little backbone and take a position instead of trying to straddle the line – if you don’t, there are other options for me (and others)!
BTW, my wife said I had to continue to wear pants, not so much for me, but for everyone else.