As the United States’ death toll to the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic breaches 142,000, and as many hospitals all over the country reach the maximum number of patients they can take care of, mandatory face mask mandates all over the country are expanding.
The number of states that have announced statewide mask mandates increased on Wednesday when Democratic Gov. Tim Walz of Minnesota and Republican Govs. Mike DeWine of Ohio and Eric Holcomb of Indiana required the wearing of face coverings in public buildings and in any other indoor spaces where people might gather near one another.
“As we continue to monitor the data, we’ve seen a concerning change in some of our key health indicators. Hoosiers have worked hard to help reopen our state and we want to remain open,” said Holcomb. “By masking up, we can and will save lives and slow the spread of COVID-19.” Holcomb’s mandate also requires people to wear a face cover while riding public transport and anywhere outdoors where people are unable to socially distance from one another.
Additionally, DeWine’s mask order comes with a recommendation for travelers coming in from other states that have a positivity rate of above 15 percent to self-quarantine for 14 days.
“We’ve got to get this virus under control – wearing masks is going to make a difference,” said DeWine at a press conference announcing his mandate. (Related: Harvard doctor wants US to enforce national mask mandate; Surgeon General says order may lead to REBELLION.)
Furthermore, the mask mandate of Washington, D.C., was expanded. Back in April, D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, ordered that masks be worn by workers and guests of hotels, food sellers, people in public transit and by people in areas where social distancing practices cannot be observed. On Wednesday, the mayor expanded this to require everyone three years old and above to wear face coverings while outside – even if they are not around any other people. The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has the authority to fine people up to $1,000 for violating the mask order.
When asked about D.C.’s mandate, President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that the federal government would be deciding within the next 24 hours on whether federal buildings in the district will be placed under a mask mandate as well. But he also called the state mandates “a good thing.”
Only 19 states do not have any kind of mask requirement for their residents. These states are Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Although individual counties and cities within these 19 states have instituted localized mask mandates of their own.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in the United States has breached the four million mark, with more than 64,000 new cases being discovered in Tuesday alone.
While the wearing of face masks is becoming more common, many private establishments have started instituting mask mandates of their own. This has put a lot of pressure on their workers, who have the thankless job of having to enforce these private mask mandates.
In Brevard County, Florida, which has opted to not make wearing face masks mandatory across the county, Mendy White, who works at Karen and Friends Beads, was tasked with enforcing the store’s policy to not let potential customers enter if they do not wear a mask. On the first day the shop reopened in May, a man who tried to enter the store lifted his shirt to flash a gun when he was asked to put on a mask. When White confronted the individual, the person de-escalated the situation by leaving.
“It causes me anxiety being here because when people walk through the door, if they don’t have a mask on, I’m expecting a fight now,” said White. “I’m expecting to be hollered at.”
These kinds of heated altercations between customers and workers are happening all across the country, thanks to mask mandates. Workers have been assaulted verbally and, in some cases, even physically simply because they had to ask their patrons to wear masks before entering their place of work.
In one incident in a Walmart in Utah, a shopper was assaulted by another person for asking them to wear a mask. The victim was injured when the attacker rammed them with their cart several times.
As the number of mask mandates being forced upon people increases, it can be expected that more heated altercations will take place.
Find out more ways companies and governments are using the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to restrict the individual liberties of their patrons and residents, respectively, at Pandemic.news.