To the editor: No Shirt, No Shoes, No Mask – NO SERVICE

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We don’t allow smoking in stores because second hand smoke causes cancer. Why in the world should we allow people to transmit a deadly virus in stores when they can easily wear a mask? Second hand smoke takes years of multiple exposures to cause cancer, while one exposure to the novel coronavirus can kill.

At a grocery store the other day, I was chatting with the person checking me out. She thanked me for writing letters to the editor. I said she was welcome and how important it is, to me, that people wear cloth masks in public.

A local gentleman without a mask joined the conversation and said that he wasn’t wearing a mask because he felt that we should all get the virus and “get it over with.” After a short back and forth, I dropped the conversation because it is important for citizens to be civil with one another, and not my place to argue the point with another patron. In my mind, I thought that the man had no right to transmit the virus, or stress the health care system by becoming sick himself, due to his beliefs.

I am also becoming increasingly concerned with the number of out-of-state visitors that I see in the stores without cloth masks. In southern Vermont, we have a high number of vacation homes. The owners of those homes are coming up from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York – all hotbeds for the virus. They are staying for the weekend and going home. They don’t self-quarantine and, most importantly, many don’t wear cloth masks in public. Don’t get me wrong, I want out-of-state visitors to come to Vermont. But after working so hard to get the Covid-19 numbers down, we can’t afford to let them go up. There is no herd immunity in Vermont. Cloth masks and hand washing are our only protection. I am not fooling when I say this is a life or death situation.

So, I am pleading with Gov. Phil Scott to make face coverings required in stores. We can’t allow patrons to confront other patrons. We need a rule from the governor that must be followed: No Cloth Face Covering, NO SERVICE!  If the governor fails to act, as he morally should, I ask my fellow citizens to boycott stores that don’t require a face mask or a cloth face covering. That is the last thing overstressed stores need, and a unfortunate and unnecessary step to take that could be avoided if the governor would just do the right thing and require masks in public.

Doug Friant
South Londonderry

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  1. arlene mutschler says:

    from the beginning, I watch as out of staters that had skied the last weekend on the slopes were opened stop at my local market and descend on the store like locusts, stripping the shelves bare! Because they knew when they got home, there were no supplies. They thought they had a found a gold mine. instead they left us with bare shelves. And when people lost their jobs, they came up to their second homes to ride out the storm or work from home, jeapodizing the well being of everyone. Including themselves. Our health system is not set up for this. I hold no animosity towards them. They have every right to use their homes. I just wish they’d isolate for the 2 weeks, and brought up 2 weeks worth of supplies. THe woman who came to move her daughter took a big chance.

  2. K Vize says:

    I am saddened by what I read with respect to masks and out-of-state people. I am a 2nd homeowner from NY who decided not to seek refuge in Vermont so as not to utilize hospital services in the event I became ill. Instead, I self-isolated for 5 weeks — until the day I had to drive upstate to move my daughter into her off campus apartment. I wore an N-95 mask all day, didn’t hug or shake anyone’s hands. Plenty of hand washing, though.

    After a long day I was faced with a choice: drive back home 3.5 hours or drive under 2 hours to Chester. As soon as I looked at my NY tags, my decision was clear: drink a lot of coffee and drive home. Reading F. Calabrese’s reply, I am glad I made that decision.

    You can’t judge a book by its cover, not can you judge a car owner by their tags. I lost 2 friends to Covid-19 and wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Their recent deaths drove home the need for a face mask (and thorough hand washing) long before Governor Cuomo made donning one mandatory.

  3. David Waldmann says:

    This is my comment:

  4. Randee Keith says:

    It’s very simple If I wear a mask it protects you, if you wear a mask it protects me.

  5. Doug Friant says:

    I am actually an out-of-stater. I moved here from New Jersey in 1980. I agree, it is wrong to stigmatize people due to their license plate. On the other hand, many people are not following the rules. How do I know this? It’s easy, there are lots of people who I see in the grocery store not wearing masks who hop into out-of-state cars.

    Friends have out-of-state neighbors who are not quarantining. It is pretty common. There are also many locals not wearing masks. Particularly the younger generations. Maybe they have already had the virus and are immune and not able to transmit it, or maybe they just don’t want to wear a mask. There is no way to know.

    I don’t want to judge people, I don’t want to confront people, I don’t want to stigmatize people. I want the governor to make a rule that says masks are required in public. Then we all would be safer.

  6. Sara Stowell says:

    Thank you for this. I agree wholeheartedly. As a parent of teens, I know how hard it is to cajole them into compliance. Mandatory masks would make us all safer, and it might make it easier for all of us to feel more comfortable wearing them, and obliging our loved ones to do the same.

  7. F Calabrese says:

    Curious to know how your able to identify out of state visitors in stores? Are they wearing shirts that say “I’m from out of state?” While I agree with almost everything you wrote in the article, I believe you painted out-of-state second-homeowners with a broad stroke.

    I own a second home in Londonderry. We decided in mid-March to shelter at home in Vermont. When we arrived, we sheltered in place for two weeks before that was even a mandate. When we go out we wear a mask.

    In the past month we’ve been given the finger by many while driving as well as cursed at in parking lots. Do I think that every Vermonter feels the same way about us? Absolutely not. Nor should you think that every out of state plate is someone who is coming up for the weekend from their hotbeds hell bent on spreading the virus.

  8. Stacia Spaulding says:

    Agreed. In my experience, at least one third of shoppers in local grocery stores are without masks, including groups of teenagers, middle-aged couples (tourists), and parents with children.

    I was in a store this weekend and an older woman pointed out to me that I was going the wrong way in the one-way aisle. I muttered (behind my mask), “Thanks lady, and YOU’RE supposed to be wearing a cloth mask.” The store employee who was stocking shelves started laughing…