Letter: No shirt, no shoes, no mask - no service

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To the Editor,We don't allow smoking in stores because second hand smoke causes cancer. Why in the world should we allow people to transmit a deadly virus in stores when they can easily wear a mask? Second hand smoke takes years of multiple exposures to cause cancer, while one exposure to the novel coronavirus can kill.At a grocery store the other day, I was chatting with the person checking me out. She thanked me for writing letters to the editor. I said she was welcome and how important it is, to me, that people wear cloth masks in public. A local gentleman without a mask joined the conversation and said that he wasn't wearing a mask because he felt that we should all get the virus and "get it over with." After a short back and forth, I dropped the conversation because it is important for citizens to be civil with one another, and not my place to argue the point with another patron. In my mind, I thought that the man had no right to transmit the virus, or stress the health care system by becoming sick himself, due to his beliefs.I am also becoming increasingly concerned with the number of out-of-state visitors that I see in the stores without cloth masks. In southern Vermont we have a high number of vacation homes. The owners of those homes are coming up from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York — all hotbeds for the virus. They are staying for the weekend and going home. They don't self-quarantine and most importantly many don't wear cloth masks in public.Don't get me wrong, I want out-of-state visitors to come to Vermont. But after working so hard to get the COVID-19 numbers down, we can't afford to let them go up. There is no herd immunity in Vermont. Cloth masks and hand washing are our only protection. I am not fooling when I say this is a life or death situation.So, I am pleading with the governor to make face coverings required in stores. We can't allow patrons to confront other patrons. We need a rule from the governor that must be followed: No Cloth Face Covering, NO SERVICE! If the Governor fails to act, as he morally should, I ask my fellow citizens to boycott stores that don't require a face mask or a cloth face covering. That is the last thing over-stressed stores need, and an unfortunate and unnecessary step to take that could be avoided if the governor would just do the right thing and require masks in public.Doug Friant,South Londonderry

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