WHILE WATCHING the number of positive local cases of COVID-19 climb more than fivefold in just over a month, it's becoming increasingly difficult for us to understand the reluctance of so many to wear a mask.
We are perplexed why so many defy science, logic and just plain common sense when it comes to doing one simple thing that might save the life or livelihood of a family member, friend or neighbor.
We've tried to rationalize it, tried to understand, and we just can't. That much of the antimask squawking comes from those who are quick to whine about an "entitled" younger generation is somewhat laughable. In fact, the sense of entitlement that comes from those who feel it's their right to be distributors of a potentially deadly viral illness into the public sphere is one of the biggest dangers we currently face.
There is some heartening news -- thankfully -- that should make it more likely those around us in public now will be masked for everyone's protection.
Several large national retailers now are requiring all customers to wear a mask while in their stores.
It's about time.
Many local businesses, as well as a big-box store or two in the region, have required this of customers all along, and we commend them for their continued vigilance and concern for the health and well-being of everyone in the region.
Now, for those of you who are quick to indignantly jump into the argument with claims about your rights, remember these businesses and their owners have rights, too. And on their private property, we are guests. No shoes, no shirt, no mask, no service. It's a logical stance, and one that we must abide if we want to shop in these establishments.
Unfortunately, we foresee belligerent factions getting in the faces of and berating unfortunate employees who will be enforcing the mask requirements. It's our hope that law enforcement will not be required to resolve these situations, but should the need arise, officers must not hesitate to take action. And we certainly would call upon the local criminal justice system to exercise its authority to punish those who would be a menace.
Let's hope, however, these actions are unnecessary.
In the meantime, try to keep things in perspective. Many of us every day are required to take on unpleasant tasks. Others put their lives in danger to keep us safe. Still more care for us when we are ill.
Asking us to wear a mask for their benefit doesn't compare on any scale with what they do for us every day. Wearing a mask simply out of respect for those who serve the public day in and day out should be a no-brainer.
So once again, for those in the back of the room still not getting the message, please wear a mask and maintain a safe social distance from others.