Why no masks?

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Recently I went to town (Cortez) to run errands, which I’ve kept to a minimum during the coronavirus epidemic. While there I called in a lunch order to Pippo’s, then went to collect it 15 minutes later. On the door was a sign informing customers that staff was not wearing masks, nor were they requiring diners to do so, and if you didn’t like this policy, don’t come in. Since I needed to pay for my sandwich, I entered and gave the waitress my money, saying I thought it was a shame that they’d chosen not to wear masks. She just glared at me, gave me my change, and I walked out with a note to self not to go back any time soon.

Later that afternoon I went to Ace Hardware, where the individuals waiting on me were maskless as well. Months ago I had encountered the same situation there and asked to speak to a manager. My request that employees wear masks was met with angry silence. My husband and I quit going to Slavens for the same reason; they weren’t making the slightest effort to protect loyal customers like us who have spent thousands of dollars there over the years. I also went into Antique Corral a while back wearing a mask, and the proprietor informed me I didn’t have to wear it. Stunned, I replied that I wanted to and she shrugged. I didn’t linger and won’t return.

Now it’s come to my attention that Ertel Funeral Home recently conducted services for a woman whose elderly mother had just completed 38 rounds of chemo. Much to my friend’s dismay (she herself has multiple risk factors for Covid), not a single Ertel employee bothered to wear a mask.

I realize many businesses are struggling to stay afloat because of stay-at-home policies, but no one should have to sacrifice their life for the sake of the economy. Often it’s those who call themselves patriots who find it too inconvenient to wear a mask to protect their fellow citizens, and many who tout “law and order” refuse to abide by governors’ mandates made for public health. These choices are selfish and reveal a considerable degree of hypocrisy. With a quarter-million people dead from coronavirus thus far, it’s way past time for municipalities to enforce their state mandates. Meanwhile, I’ll go only to establishments making an effort to keep me safe.

Erin Turner-Bird

Montezuma County, Colo.

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From Letters.