By Gary J. Groman, a.k.a. The Ole Seagull
Recently the Ole Seagull received a Facebook message from a guy. It said, “Are you the clown running around snitching on people and businesses like a good little na zi sheepie? If so, what a pathetic little man you are.”
What’s more pathetic?
First, to answer his question, “No. Like many in Branson, the Ole Seagull has personally observed many individuals and Branson Businesses not complying with Branson’s mandatory masking ordinance. Although he may be considered a clown and pathetic by some, he has never reported any person or business to the city for violation of its mandatory face-covering ordinance.
But if he had, why would that make him any more pathetic than a person or business that doesn’t care enough about others to obey the law? One who doesn’t respect others enough to wear a mask to protect them from the potential spread of Covid-19? Someone arrogant enough not to wear a mask despite advice from recognized national and local health experts responsible for handling and dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic that masking can help prevent the spread of Covid-19 to others?
If you can’t follow the law, stay at home!
Some against masking suggests that those at risk stay home rather than requiring everyone to wear a mask because they have an alleged constitutional right not to wear a mask. Really, well, here’s a news flash! There is no constitutionally protected right not to wear a mask under the pandemic conditions that currently require masking. Let an Ole Seagull suggest that if you cannot follow the law requiring masking, including wearing it right, that you stay at home. At least don’t complain or get excited if someone reports the violation.
Every citizen should be able to rely on the protection of the laws designed for their safety. When they drive through a green light, they should be able to trust that someone isn’t going to impact their safety by running through a red light. People should be able to go outside their homes and live their daily lives as they chose, relying that the people and businesses they will encounter will be in compliance with the mandatory masking laws put into place to protect them.
Should have said something, but didn’t
Earlier this week, the Ole Seagull was in a local grocery store. As he stood in line waiting for his turn, he noticed the clerk had her mask down and around her neck. She waited on customers, bagged their groceries, and spoke with them all well within six feet of them. When his groceries moved into position for her to handle, he stood six feet back and said nothing. She looked up, the Ole Seagull pointed to his mask, and she immediately pulled hers up and wore it properly. He said nothing to the clerk or the management about the incident and left.
That’s the last time he will go into an “essential business” and let violations of the mandatory masking provisions go unchallenged. His reaction will not be the same for “non-essential businesses,” however.
Covid essential and non-essential businesses
Essential businesses are those which a person “has” to go into in the ordinary, normal course of daily living, such as grocery stores etc. A non-essential business is a theatre, restaurant, etc. that a person elects to enter. If the Ole Seagull chooses to go into a non-essential business, he does so of his own free will. Once he decides to go into the establishment, he does not concern himself with their compliance with the mandatory masking ordinance.
Some might say, “Why not? The failure to wear the mask could spread COVID. It makes no difference whether it spreads by the failure of an essential or non-essential business and its patrons to wear masks.” That’s true; however, nothing’s perfect.
Two elements to COVID Pandemic
In an Ole Seagull’s heart, he believes that there are two elements that compromise the COVID pandemic: medical and economic. Each community must reconcile the economic and medical impact of COVID on its community’s “non-essential” businesses such as theatres, attractions, restaurants, etc. In Branson, what is “non-essential “from a health care perspective is absolutely “essential” to its economy and the individual businesses that are the foundation of that economy.