Masks: The ongoing controversy in America

Masks have become an essential for day-to-day life, if not the most important thing to have during this pandemic.

Despite being used to protect yourself and others from contracting and spreading COVID-19, many are refusing to wear one. 

Debates on whether or not you should wear a mask have sprung up all over the country since orders on wearing them were put in place in each state. 

Many United States citizens believe that being told to wear a mask is a violation of American rights. 

These “anti-maskers” also believe that wearing a mask does nothing to protect you or other people from the virus. Further, many conceive that establishments refusing service to those not wearing a mask, or not wearing one the proper way, is a violation of their civil rights; despite numerous medical professionals’ opinions on this topic.

The virus is spread through respiratory droplets, which release when people speak, yell, sneeze and cough. If someone was to come in contact with a droplet on their nose or mouth they could contract the virus. By wearing a cloth mask, not one with a ventilator, you are preventing yourself from spreading and receiving droplets. 

Some countries have been able to stop the spread and even eradicate the virus because leaders heavily enforce wearing a mask and the citizens of those countries are not arguing with those decisions. These countries, who closed their borders at the start of the pandemic, have been able to start reopening and living life normally again. Whereas America, and especially Texas, is getting worse every day. If anti-maskers weren’t so hardheaded and instead looked at the benefits of mask wearing, we could be going back to school, eating out, and even going to concerts without the abundance of restrictions.

Many businesses have signs and notices stating that they refuse to provide service to any patron not wearing a mask. This is the same idea as a business having a “no shirt, no shoes, no service” sign or notice. Anti-maskers respect the latter statement but not the former. Those who are not respecting the former use the claim that they have the right to not wear a mask and it is illegal for the establishment to refuse service, but that is simply not the case. 

Private establishments have the right to refuse service to anyone that could or does interfere with the safety and well-being of the other patrons or the establishment. Businesses are not allowed to refuse service to a protected class, including classes such as race, age, or gender. Maskless people are not a protected class and therefore can be turned away by an establishment. 

If I had a dollar for every time I saw or heard about someone screaming at an employee somewhere for denying them service due to being maskless, I would have enough money to move to a country that doesn’t have a problem with the virus anymore, like New Zealand. My brother would come home from work and talk about a rude customer that got mad at him and it baffled me that people could get so angry about this supposed “violation of rights” when they are violating the rights of the business and its owners!

If everyone were to wear a mask properly, our lives could return to “normal” faster. This topic may be a conflict of interest in our polarized country but science shows that wearing a mask will help everyone stay safe and stop the spread of COVID-19. Personally, I am choosing to look at the science and look at the countries that have effectively stopped the spread and will continue to wear my mask. Not only is wearing a mask considerate to yourself, but also to others around you. I don’t want to be the reason myself or a loved one gets the virus, and neither should you.