A masked family walks into a crowded unmasked restaurant

I had breakfast at Red’s Kitchen and Tavern in Peabody, Massachusetts today. Occupancy was at least 80 percent. None of the customers were masked (partly due to the fact that they were eating!). None of the cooks or servers were masked. The hostess was not masked. In walks a family of four, the parents perhaps 40 years old. Both parents and their middle school-aged children were wearing cloth/paper masks of the kind that #Science says provide almost no protection to the wearer (but, as demonstrated in Peru and the Czech Republic, when ordered for the general public and enforced by the police and military, can protect a whole population!). They kept their masks on until their food was served.

Our governor’s 69 emergency orders are no longer in effect so they didn’t have to wear masks by law/regulation/dictate. This is the North Shore, not Cambridge or Boston, so there was no apparent social pressure to wear a mask. There was no immediate social pressure to wear a mask from anyone else in the restaurant. Why would they wear a mask? #AbundanceOfCaution is the seemingly obvious answer. Except if that were the explanation, they would have simply stayed home and prepared groceries previously delivered by an army of Latinx essential workers. Why go into a crowded restaurant and rely on 3-cent paper surgical masks as PPE? Or, if slightly less cautious, wouldn’t they have gone to a drive-through and eaten in the COVID-19-free environment of their automobile? Or, if God had told them that they had to eat in that very restaurant that very morning, they could have worn N95 masks that would have had some chance of filtering out incoming Delta variant.

I don’t begrudge them their moderate level of coronapanic. One of the great things about Florida is that each resident is free to choose his/her/zir/their own level of coronapanic. I’m just wondering what moderately coronapanicked people are doing in a crowded restaurant in which nobody else is masked!

On a mostly unrelated note… here’s a $5 item from the Whole Paycheck in Bedford, MA:

I’m wondering why this is effective marketing. For the righteous who wish to purchase based on victimhood status, wouldn’t it work just as well to put a photo of the owners, maybe with traditionally female names attached and dressed as what we used to call “women”? The “Women Owned” legend risks, I would think, discouraging haters from buying. The Neanderthals who refuse to sort vendors by victimhood category may yet be happy to buy from “Judy and Kate” (just as they were happy to buy from Home Depot when Marvin Ellison was a top executive there and they’re happy to buy from Lowe’s now that Mr. Ellison is CEO, but they might not want to buy from Lowe’s if it put a big “Black-Managed” sign on the front).

[Disclaimer: I went into the Whole Paycheck to return an Amazon purchase (the Army of the Essential picked the wrong item off the shelf), not because I would ordinarily be pretentious enough to shop there. I did buy a watermelon on the way out, which turned out to be terrible. A replacement watermelon from Shaw’s (a regular supermarket for regular people) was vastly superior.]

12 thoughts on “A masked family walks into a crowded unmasked restaurant

  1. Gender #Science is a rapidly expanding and intellectually demanding field, so I can only attempt a guess.

    If the women owners are biological women, posting a picture would be a form of flaunting their relative #Privilege — especially if they are, God forbid, pretty. After all, they are birthing womxn, which would exclude non-birthing womxn. Some might even think that they are TERFs who look down on biological males participating in the Womxn’s Olympics!

    So using the written form with a rainbow “o” is safer, though I’d recommend the more modern form “womxn”.

    • They think through masks… so that non-approved tboughts can’t enter their heads.

  2. We assume for the sake of argument that people are rational actors with perfect information [hah!]…Presumably they called the restaurant beforehand to inquire about their mask policy. When they found out masks were optional, they decided to set a good example and assuage their own fears as well as show their magnanimous concern for others, and masked up the whole family. Inertia. You met some hard core adherents. They have been one of the millions of families scouring the Internet for news about the Delta Variant. Perhaps they read the New York Times and knew several weeks ago that it was on its way here, thanks to David Leonhardt. Or they listen to WAMC/WBUR.

  3. Masking seems to be best understood as a religious phenomenon, like wearing a prominently displayed cross you are signaling to others your beliefs & that you are part of a certain community. You might also think it would protect you, though at least as to the cross I don’t know that a prominent display is thought to achieve more protection than for example having it tucked under your blouse.

  4. Give them some credit Phil. They are in Covidsermon, following the law by the books to the letter and more. I’m sure they are reading and watching all that there is about COVID, here are my 2 favorites Youtube videos about masks that cover all ages https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wr8QIbfN1-4 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dThiYFgI_g

    And here is my favorite video on how to test if you have COVID or not (zero cost for the test all around) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLxckaeCWW8

  5. As you have noted many times, people take a religious attitude to their adherence to the mask and the shutdown, etc. My experience as a religious person (but a traditional religion, not the new Science-based religions) is that one of the unfortunate hallmarks of organized religion is self-righteousness, and a lot of people who look down on and are judgmental of anyone whose level of orthodoxy is lower than theirs. Theirs is the correct strictness of adherence; anyone more orthodox is just silly, anyone less is a sinner who will burn in hell.

    The religion of the mask has allowed a new and much broader section of people to experience the pleasure of judging others for not living up to what you think the standard should be. When they wear the mask at the restaurant, the more people that aren’t wearing a mask, the _more_ benefit they get from wearing theirs, because it means a larger group of people they can judge themselves better than.

  6. I can imagine being a kid in that masked family. When I was a kid my father would often say a “blessing” before our family would eat our meal in a restaurant. It wasn’t a loud prayer but I was still embarrassed by the act of all of us bowing our heads and closing our eyes for a prayer.

  7. It’s surreal in Calif* where 1 month after restrictions ended, everyone is still going around masked in stores. Walmart is manely unmasked. Target is manely masked. Haven’t gone into a whole paycheck but can imagine.

  8. Just spent a few weeks in Florida maskless, and without distancing….forgot COVID. Then had to PCRtest neg to fly home!

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