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OUR OPINION: What is with the violence over face masks?

OUR OPINION: What is with the violence over face masks?


One of the many troubling ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic is violence over face masks.

Here are just a half dozen recent headlines from across the country:

- "Indiana 7-Eleven employee attacked after asking customer to wear face mask"

- "Food workers are experiencing hostility and violence from customers refusing to wear masks"

- "Two dollar-store employees assaulted over mask warnings; one dies"

- Brawl breaks out after two men refuse to wear face masks at Target Store"

- Waffle House shooting triggered by coronavirus mask dispute"

- Tensions over masks, social distancing lead to violent altercations, shooting death, pipe bomb threats"

What in the name of sanity and reason is going on?

Our thoughts?

* We as a nation are waging war against an enemy responsible for the deaths of more than 100,000 Americans this year - and war sometimes requires temporary sacrifices and changes in accepted norms.

* Here is what the Centers for Disease Control says about face masks: "CDC continues to study the spread and effects of the novel coronavirus across the United States.  We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.  This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity — for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing — even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.  In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission."

In other words, face masks are meant to protect you from infecting others and others from infecting you. If a business chooses to follow the CDC recommendation and require face masks, it's because it embraced a reasonable, if not commendable greater-good position in the name of safety for its employees and customers.

* A face mask policy is no different than the accepted "No shirt, no shoes, no service" policy common among businesses.

* Finally, if you as an individual wish to ignore the CDC face mask recommendation and don't want to do business with somebody exercising their right to require masks, just go someplace else. Don't berate or otherwise abuse an employee at the entrance who is just doing his or her job by telling you what the rule is.

Our Opinion editorials represent the consensus view of The Sioux City Journal editorial board. Members of the board include: Bruce Miller, editor; Michael Gors, editorial page editor; Dave Dreeszen; managing editor; Tim Hynds, chief photographer.

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