No exemptions

Dear Editor:

At this point in the pandemic there should be no exemption for anyone to be in a retail establishment without a face covering, unless the service requires it (i.e., restaurant).

If you don’t want to wear a face covering (or can’t) there are now alternative ways to shop for anything you need without ever entering a store. For those claiming a medical condition preventing the use of a mask there are alternative face coverings available (e.g., a plastic face shield). Without one you are more susceptible to get the virus, more likely to spread it and unlikely to survive it. You are unnecessarily endangering yourself, the staff and other customers.

Those who are falsely claiming medical exemption, to pompously weasel out of wearing a face covering, should be fined. If I was to carry around a firearm, when I got caught I’d be charged. A face covering in the current situation should be treated the same. It is not your “right” to deliberately endanger others’ lives.

A heroic example. I saw a quite elderly gentleman in a store with breathing tubes in his nose and an oxygen bottle in a sling over his shoulder, wearing a clear plastic full face shield. In a wheezy voice he said “if I get it I won’t survive it…” Then, gesturing to a young child, “if I gave it to someone else and they died because of me I’d never forgive myself.” If anyone could warrant claiming exemption it would be him, yet he has chosen to embrace the challenge and be responsible. Sir, I applaud you, and all others finding ways to accommodate for their special conditions. Bravo!

The world’s leading scientists and medical professionals are working on a vaccine and effective treatments but until those are ready it is the public’s responsibility to do everything we can to keep this virus suppressed. That should mean everyone!

Paul Dunnill,