As businesses slowly begin to reopen owing to the relaxation in corona-related-restrictions across the states, a handful of businesses seem to have fashioned themselves with a new trend of keeping customers away who cover their faces with masks and kicking out those who urge to comply with the mandated guidelines, as per a report published in The Washington Post.
Scientific and medical experts have agreed that people should cover their faces in public to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed at least 100,000 people in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains that masks serve as an especially important safeguard in crowded spaces, where social distancing is impossible.
But Kevin Smith, owner of the Liberty Tree Tavern in Elgin, Texas, kept customers with masks waiting for a long time outside his shop as he did not think any such response to the directives was necessary.
“Sorry, no mask allowed,” read the poster taped to the front door of his bar on Friday. “Please bare with us thru the ridiculous fearful times,” the poster further read.
Now Smith who has begun to cut seating by three-quarters as he prepared to reopen the bar after states eased shutdown parameters, told The Washington Post, “If we’re only allowed to be at 25 per cent capacity, I want them to be the 25 per cent of people that aren’t p—–, that aren’t sheep.”
“Being scared all the time isn’t good for your health. It suppresses your immune system,” he added.
A two-month shutdown from Texas officials had forced him to cancel a benefit concert for veterans and close down during the busy rush of customers who fly into nearby Austin for South by Southwest. For three weeks, a Bastrop County rule required him to wear a face mask in public or face up to 180 days in jail.
“Why are we having to do this?” he asked.
“We’re not here to live in fear,” said Smith, who said he did not believe the virus poses a serious threat.
A town of about 10,000 people, Elgin has reported 53 coronavirus infections and one of the two deaths in the county. Even as local officials continue to encourage residents to cover their faces, Smith said he does not believe masks are necessary.
Bartenders need to see their customers’ faces to check IDs and make sure no one gets served too many drinks, he argued. Anyone with the virus, including those who are asymptomatic, should not be coming out, to begin with. Besides, he asked: How are you supposed to down a beer with a bandanna stretched across your lips?
Similarly, at one Kentucky gas station, no one is allowed inside the adjacent convenience store if they are wearing a mask. Near Los Angeles, a flooring store encourages hugs and handshakes while prohibiting face coverings. The owner of a campground in rural Wisconsin vowed to treat clients sporting them inside her facilities as she would “a robbery in progress.”
One regular customer at the Liberty Tree Tavern, 58-year old Charles Chamberlain, who said he survived both Stage 4 cancer and the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, “This quarantine. … That’s not living, that’s existing.”
“Going to the bar, going to the lake, going swimming with your friends, barbecuing, fishing — that’s living,” he added further.