Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Coronavirus Update 3-3-2021: As states lift mask mandates, remember that the law is always a floor and not a ceiling

With that announcement, Texas joins Mississippi (whose governor made the same announcement yesterday) and many of the other usual suspects with no rules mandating that people wear masks or other facial covering in public or at work.

I say, "BOOOOOOO!!!!" This is the worst idea at the worst possible time. Yes, cases are falling and vaccination rates are rising. But the prevalence of the more contagious Covid variants is also rising, and we are still months or longer away from herd immunity. Now is the time to double-down on safety, not shirk our responsibility to ourselves, our families, friends, coworkers, and others. As my friend Suzanne Lucas eloquently stated in discussing this same issue, "Moral obligations don't go away."

Just because a governor says you don't have to wear a mask doesn't mean you have to listen. The law is a floor, not a ceiling. The CDC still recommends masks or other appropriate facial coverings be worn in public settings, at events and gatherings, and anywhere one will be around other people, and they are mandated on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation. OSHA still recommends the same while at work. Masks save lives, period. So no matter what your government says, mask up.

I get that people have pandemic fatigue. We've been living in some form of isolation for nearly a year. But while some may be done with Covid, Covid isn't done with us. We all need to recognize this fact and behave accordingly. Otherwise, we'll be having these same conversations a year from now as the pandemic nears its second anniversary. I think we can all agree that no one wants that.