It’s no surprise, really, that Gov. Kay Ivey’s mandatory mask order has spawned a backlash of resistance from those who consider such regulations an infringement on their civil rights.
Ivey’s own lieutenant governor, Will Ainsworth, was among them. Ainsworth in an emailed statement called the order “an overstep that infringes upon the property rights of business owners and the ability of individuals to make their own health decisions.”
What about the health of others? You don’t wear a mask for your own protection. You do it for the protection of others. And clearly, such protection is needed right now.
The alarming growth in the number of COVID-19 cases in the past month left Ivey with little choice.
The numbers don’t lie. As of Thursday at noon, there were 60,158 confirmed virus cases in Alabama, with 18,963 (31.5%) of those being reported in the past two weeks. There has been 1,200 deaths.
Hospitalizations have increased to the point they are now straining the state’s medical resources.
Helen Keller Hospital President Kyle Buchanan reported Wednesday his hospital has seen a 42% increase recently in the number of patients being treated for the disease.
Avoiding government intervention would have been preferable, but given the expanding spread of the virus and divided public sentiment, the face mask order was necessary. For months state officials have encouraged the general public to wear masks, maintain social distancing, and practice good hygiene procedures.
Statistics are proof positive that not enough Alabamians have chosen the right path.
If you don’t want to live under a mask mandate, good. Every Shoals area resident can do something right now to make that not happen: You can start wearing masks voluntarily.
Ivey will revisit her order at the end of the month. If we all make this short-term sacrifice, it’s possible the upward trend for this disease will reverse its course.
One last thing, be considerate of the business owners and employees where you are shopping or dining. Don’t create more stress and problems for businesses owners and employees who are already on edge because the pandemic has caused financial strife.
These employees are simply following state guidelines. They do not want to argue with you or hear rants about your rights. They want to work — and make a living. Be kind and let them.
We are all in this together. This is not an infringement of our rights as society has many mandates for the greater good — such as the wearing of seat belts.
Wearing a mask, while not necessarily pleasant, is not much of a sacrifice to make to reduce the devastating impact of the coronavirus.