To the editor:
This is in response to County Commissioner Kirby Krier’s request to revisit the mask mandate.
I have one question. Why?
Is it about rights?
Are our rights violated when for the health and safety of our fellow citizens we have to follow speed limits and other traffic laws? Are smokers’ rights violated when for the health and safety of their fellow citizens they can’t light up in a restaurant or other public building? Are our rights violated when for the health and safety of our fellow citizens, the sign on the door states, “No shirt, No shoes, No service?”
Is it about inconvenience?
Is it inconvenient when, for the health and safety of our fellow citizens, we have to sit at a light, even when there is no other traffic? I imagine some find it inconvenient, when for their own safety, they have to wear a seat belt. I also imagine those smokers find it inconvenient, when for the health and safely of their fellow citizens, they have to go outside to smoke.
Evidence-based science has led every credible health professional and organization to the conclusion that wearing a mask helps slow the spread of COVID-19. I could restate the Barton County statistics and acknowledge the tireless work of the Barton Health Department to keep us safe and updated and their now important task of vaccinating. I could talk about how wearing masks in our schools has helped keep kids in their classrooms, which in turn has allowed parents to work. I could talk about how masks help keep those of us healthy that are taking care of aging home-bound parents. I could talk about the stress and sacrifice of our health-care professionals and how our wearing of masks is a help to them and that if a mask mandate keeps one person from contracting a virus that could take their life, it would be worth it. I could go on and on. But I shouldn’t have to!
I can think of no responsible answer to the question of “why” we would revisit the mask mandate. That we are on the threshold of a new COVID variant even more contagious is another reason that we should stop debating this issue, adhere to the mandate in place and just wear a mask.
“I believe in the principle that I can make a difference in this world. It may be ever so small, but it will count for the greater good.” Gordon B. Hinckley