Officials are trying to silence violent outbreaks by anti-maskers

Leading health authorities are asking people to wear them. Local, state, and federal officials are begging citizens, and in two-thirds of the states they are asking citizens to donate them publicly. Even the most mask-averse potential “role model”, President Trump, has at times started to play one.

According to research polls, the public is self-signaling support for government-imposed masking mandates, and most people say they wear masks themselves to protect others and, to some extent, themselves from the deadly coronavirus.

However, polls by researchers and media organizations, including The Times, reveal that large numbers of people continue to avoid masks in public, even in places where they risk felony charges. In addition, videos continue to pop up on the internet showing a handful of shoppers causing tantrums – or worse, physically threatening or assaulting employees – when told that it is mandatory to wear masks in supermarkets, shoe stores, and cigar stores.

The government is stepping up efforts to enforce mask mandates

As public health groups and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden push for a federal mask mandate, state and local officials themselves have passed a number of regulations to bolster their initial mask mandates.

In Illinois, where a mask mandate was first issued in May, Governor JB Pritzker signed a law earlier this month making it a crime to attack retail workers who “provide public health guidelines,” such as “public health guidelines”. B. Customers to wear masks or to practice social distancing. Pritzker also issued a rule penalizing companies that fail to enforce mask requirements with fines of up to $ 2,500.

“We know face covers are key to preventing the spread of COVID-19, but it only works if everyone is wearing it,” said Ngozi Ezike, who heads the state’s health department. “We see more cases every day and hear from people who don’t comply with the masking mandate. This rule is an attempt to keep us all healthy. “

In Connecticut this month, an April ordinance requiring all persons 2 years and older to wear masks in public spaces was supplemented with a requirement that residents who claim to be medically exempt must provide a doctor’s letter.

Several local California governments have fined businesses and residents for failing to comply with the statewide mask mandate. After seeing a spike in coronavirus cases, Yolo County code officials can now fine companies up to $ 10,000 for failing to keep health orders, including missing a mask. Likewise, in the city of Glendale, it can cost up to $ 2,000 for a third violation if no mask is worn in public places.

Earlier this week, Charleston, SC officials renewed a mask policy approved in June and approved $ 100 fines for first-time violations.

What people do and what they say

During the summer, several polls signaled that most adults in the United States support government mandates, saying they use masks in public. For example, the Pew Research Center reported in June that 65% of respondents said they wore a mask all or most of the time in stores or other businesses during the month. In July, a poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs found that 75% of respondents – including 89% Democrats and 58% Republicans – preferred wearing face coverings outside of their homes. A July poll by Hill / HarrisX found that 82% of registered voters supported a national mask mandate, including 93% Democrats and 66% Republicans. A survey by the USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research also found a steady upward trend in mask wear over the past few weeks, going from 8 to 10 in June to 9 to 10 in August.

However, researchers at USC also found that while the wearing of masks appears to be widespread, “many people have not worn them according to recommended guidelines”. The Times directly observed the behavior of passers-by at three major southern California intersections and found that many people do not wear masks in crowded outdoor areas – although failure to wear a mask in public has been a crime in the state since June.

According to Masks4All, which advocates the use of cloth masks, at least 33 states so far require the use of masks in public. Most other states leave it to local authorities to issue regulations. That includes Georgia, whose governor Brian Kemp recently withdrew a lawsuit against the Atlanta mayor and city council to block restrictions on fighting the coronavirus, including a city-wide masked mandate.

How vocal do some naysayers stay?

In July, a woman at a Skechers shoe store in Oklahoma City expressed her dislike of the mask policy by throwing boxes of shoes to an employee. Shortly thereafter, the city council approved an emergency ordinance requiring facial covering in public places indoors.

But mandates do not always protect key employees from verbal or even physical abuse.

For example, in mid-August, a man in an Orange County supermarket refused to wear a mask while shopping. When an employee asked him to leave the shop, he resisted and equated the state’s mask requirement with “National Socialism”.

Days earlier, a man in Tucson yelled profanity at a Sprouts Farmers Market to employees and other customers after being asked to wear a mask. To prevent the conflict from escalating, his son picked him up and carried him out of the store. In particular, the Mayor of Tucson issued a proclamation in June calling for facial covering in public facilities.

Also in August, a woman without a mask at a supermarket in Long Island, NY, where face-covering has been required since April, equated the mandate with communism before humiliating and threatening an employee.

In Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, police arrested 35-year-old Adam Michael Zaborowski on August 1 on suspicion of firing a gun at a clerk in a cigar shop.

According to the Bethlehem Municipality Police Department, employees told Zaborowski that all patrons had to cover their mouth and nose due to COVID-19. They also said that if he was uncomfortable wearing a mask, they could take his order on the side of the road. According to the police, “Zaborowski got angry, took two cigars from a shelf and left the store without paying.”

An employee followed Zaborowski outside and asked him to return the goods. Police said Zabrowski turned around, pulled out a semi-automatic pistol and shot one round in the air, then two rounds at the employee. Nobody was injured and Zaborowski fled in a pickup truck. He was arrested after a shootout with state and local police – all amid a statewide mandate that requires everyone outside the home to wear a mask.

Carrot and whip?

Utah is one of the fewer than 20 states that do not have a nationwide mask mandate. Instead, the state government set up an online portal through which all residents could request up to six high-quality masks per postal address – completely free of charge.

“We wanted the masks to be beautiful so people would be proud to wear them,” said Ben Hart, associate director of the Utah governor’s bureau for economic development. Within a few weeks of the initiative’s start, the state government had around one million online orders – in a state with around 3.2 million inhabitants.

With the help of the National Guard and religious organizations, state officials also targeted the most vulnerable populations. Masks were distributed to nonprofit groups that serve the homeless and provide meals to the hungry. The “A Mask for Every Utahn” initiative also prioritized residents over 65 years of age, people with pre-existing health problems, people who don’t speak English as their mother tongue, refugees and people who do not earn a living wage.

“That was really critical,” said Hart, “because you can mandate.” [wearing a mask] all day. You are good at people. You can get into a fight. You can face them on the street. But if they don’t have the money to get a mask, it doesn’t matter. “

Utah state officials also worked with 150 grocery stores across the state, supplying at least 400 masks to each participating facility. Grocery stores received up to 2,000 masks in regions where coronavirus transmission broke out. They were offered free to customers who could take them with them and use them elsewhere.

Utah has now distributed 2.8 million masks at a cost of approximately $ 15 million. He points to the state’s comparatively low COVID-19 mortality and unemployment rates and believes the investment was “worth every penny.”

Public perception is important, added Hart. This underscores that, while some people still refuse to choose to wear masks, many have been persuaded by multilingual awareness campaigns and, in particular, by the state government’s willingness to spend money on masks.

“It’s about telling our citizens, ‘You are important enough to us to help you understand the why and give you access to resources,” he said.

“Our perspective here in Utah is that we really prefer to allocate resources and help people understand the meaning, as opposed to a mandate. But we would never criticize a government that did that because there is data to show that it works. The question is, are there any more effective ways to encourage people to wear masks? Do you want to help people with incentives or do you just want to regulate?

Despite Utah’s successes, he added, “It’s hard to argue against a federal requirement” because “there are still many states where people don’t wear masks.”

In fact, even Utah uses state violence in K-12 schools. Earlier this week, students and staff learned that if they did not wear masks in school, they could be charged with a wrongdoing. The Utah Education Assn. The celebrated move is unpopular with parents who speak out against the prosecution of minors.

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