South Dakota’s governor Kristi Noem is infamous for failing to #FollowScience and order her subjects to wear masks (though she might argue that she was merely following World Health Organization’s science from January-June 2020 (“don’t wear a mask”)). Her “government can’t protect you from a respiratory virus” attitude is shocking to those who have faith in technocratic “leadership.”
We stopped overnight in Rapid City in mid-November, en route to Bend, Oregon. Compared to Massachusetts or Oregon, it turns out that the observed mask rituals on the ground are not that different in practice. Oregon has huge signs, for example, ordering people to wear masks when on trails. Only about 30 percent of folks out walking obey the order. South Dakota has no order, but about 30 percent of folks choose to wear masks.
Just as residents of South Dakota are free to live unmasked, businesses in South Dakota are free to require masks. Our hotel, for example, required masks in the lobby. A lot of shops had “masks required” signs out front. In a bagel shop that had no signs regarding mask use, nearly all of the customers came in wearing masks and did not remove them until seated at a table.
Just as in Maskachusetts, folks would rather use their limited budget for human interaction on adults in restaurants rather than children in schools. The Rapid City schools, for example, are on a “hybrid” schedule currently. (Contrast to Ireland, where everything is closed except schools!)
A few snapshots. Note that our Maximum Macho president Jimmy Carter is parked right in front of a bridal boutique. (Downtown Rapid City has statues of all of the legitimate presidents (i.e., everyone except Donald Trump).)