In early June I posted “Karen’s Mask Law Compliance Update (Boston to Minneapolis and back)” (this trip plus a trip to the local supermarket would now be illegal under the new Maskachusetts rules!). Here’s an update based on a rare day out and about.
When not filled with arguments about how to pay for the most expensive (per student) school ever to be constructed in the United States, our righteous suburb (rich in BLM and Rainbow flags, if not in people who identify as persons of color or members of the LGBTQIA+ community) is filled with arguments about the best approach to coronapanic. The latest furor concerns the lethal Covid-19-spreading properties of Canis familiaris. Touched someone else’s dog? Dig yourself a grave. A proposed solution is that our town will one day see reason and pass a leash law to reduce the chance of human-canine encounters.
Thus, it was with some trepidation that I took Mindy the Crippler for her first post-plague visit to the grooming salon. If our neighbors are right, the groomers should all be dead. Folks in the salon apparently did not get the memo regarding the hazards of touching dogs and, remarkably, have failed to die on schedule. While Mindy was having her spa treatment, I met a couple of friends for a rare indoor dining experience at a Panera-style restaurant (order at counter; food delivered to table). They have failed to adapt to coronaplague by augmenting the handful of outdoor tables and it was super hot outside so we ate indoors.
We’re in Month 5 of shutdown here and Month 3 of the universal mask law. Everyone seemed to be attempting to wear masks, but, just as the Swedish MD/PhDs predicted, once they were masked they made little attempt to keep a 6′ social distance. There were a fair number of masks-under-noses as well. We’re spending $trillions on things like $600/week handouts to people who became unemployed after the License Raj made it illegal to operate restaurants. But there doesn’t seem to be any money for adaptions that would contribute to long-run plague reduction (like my pet idea for schools). For example, cruise ships usually have handwashing sinks near the entrance to restaurants. Not this restaurant. If we believe the W.H.O. guidance on mask usage (early June 2020 edition of “science”!), the restaurant should have had a sink outside near the outdoor tables and an indoor sink that didn’t require going into a restroom. After all, masks are effective only when combined with handwashing, so we were told by W.H.O. But, in fact, there were no sinks for customers other than ones in the restrooms.
I took Senior Management’s car for a state inspection on the way back to the groomer. None of the guys at the gas station were wearing masks when working in the bay or outdoors, but put them on (without washing hands!) when going inside the shop to run credit cards with customers.
Mindy wasn’t quite ready, so it was necessary to kill time at Dunkin’ Donuts. The women behind the counter were both wearing masks… underneath their noses. Then the hardware store to buy three bottles of drain cleaner to address a slow kitchen sink. “Why do you need three bottles?” asked the partially masked woman in the store? “One thing I have learned from our government is that when something doesn’t work, keep repeating it over and over.” (The grease clog and a small leak in the elbow were eventually solved by a plumber for $370, further evidence that owning property in the U.S. is stupid, except for the exceptionally capable who can do everything themselves.)
A Sunday trip via Cirrus to Martha’s Vineyard (one of the few places to which Maskachusetts residents can legally travel to/from) showed that the island is all-in on masks (“Wear a Mask, Make a Difference” says the sign, contradicting the W.H.O.’s advice through early June and the MD/PhDs in Sweden):
Note the mask directives for boarding the ferry to Chappaquiddick. Perhaps if Ted Kennedy had worn a mask, American politics would have gone in a different direction! (my Cape Cod photos include historical photos of the inn where Teddy K stayed and the motel room where Mary Jo Kopechne stayed).
Two miles away…
I still wonder if having customers inside retail stores makes sense in a country where the only goal is avoiding COVID-19. As noted in “Train Americans to use masks the way that surgeons do or restructure the physical environment?”, why can’t stores go back to their 18th century roots: Customer enters spacious front part of shop and asks for item. Shopkeeper goes into jammed back part shelves to retrieve requested item. (tweak so that customer never goes into the store itself, but stays outside and transacts business over a counter)
We’re afraid of getting Covid-19 from surfaces, right? (hence the constant sanitizing) We’re also afraid of getting Covid-19 from sharing air. How can it make sense to put the entire country at risk by continuing to operate retail stores as they were configured in the pre-Covid-19 age?
- “Masks are pointless, says Sweden’s maverick chief medic” (Financial Review): “Because from a medical perspective there is no proven effectiveness of masks, the cabinet has decided that there will be no national obligation for wearing non-medical masks,” said Medical Care Minister Tamara van Ark. (Where is the respect for #Science?)