Masking tape

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I first wrote about coronavirus March 24, so we are at least four months into the Pandemic Masquerade. It seems like only yesterday, and a lifetime. Remember? Hot weather was supposed to see dramatic decline in the infection rate. So much for that theory, like drinking Clorox – gone the way of the buffalo.

As I write, Governor Hutchinson’s order for masking in public takes effect today. I feel for Hutch, a traditional Republican who believes that government should stay out of people’s bidnis, but help them when necessary.

As such, he could be considered a Marxist by the wilder elements in Republican circles today. Since Our President disdained masking, Hutch had to follow the party line, careful not to move homegrown crazies into action.

But when Walmart, with 80 stores and its intergalactic HQ in Arkansas, says folks got to wear a mask, Hutch jilted the Trumpkin propaganda: What’s good for Walmart is good for Arkansas.

We took Grandma for her twice-weekly appointment this morning at Mercy Outpatient services in Berryville. The hospital takes this seriously – they are not equipped to handle covid-19 patients.

Stopped at Berryville Post Office to mail letters afterwards, where the clerks have been protected behind a plexiglass shield for months. Today the postmistress wore a mask, but her customer did not.

The governor’s order has the force of law, excepting certain classes of people, including them which do not accept his authority. Some police chiefs and county sheriffs are quoted as saying they will not enforce the mask mandate, period; some say they will remind people but they lack enough personnel to make it a priority, which apparently will happen only in our larger cities.

Like everything else about this strange once-in-a-lifetime situation, you pays yer money and you takes yer choice: Want to believe it’s real? Wear you stupid libtard mask! Laugh it off as a Chinese-Democrat-media concocted hoax? No mask.

According to Arkansas’s biggest newspaper, the Democrat-Gazette, “In a Facebook post, Randolph County Sheriff Kevin Bell said that he and his deputies would not arrest anyone for failing to follow the mask order. “I feel that the government has no place telling an individual what to wear or for that matter when and how a person can worship God,” Bell wrote.

Note: Hutchinson’s mask order excludes people attending worship services.

We are accustomed to people following a religious dress code: Jewish men and Catholic women cover their heads in their holy houses; Muslim women often wear head coverings, which sometimes cover their entire face. Locally, Mennonite men wear fringy beards, suspenders and ball caps and Mennonite women wear lovely handmade floor length dresses and little caps to keep their hair in a bun.

All these accoutrements, among others, are fine, because they do not affect the health of the community at large. Refusing to cover one’s mouth and nose with some sort of protective cloth device may have infectious ramifications; some church services and funerals have been noted as “super spreader” events. If churchgoers are excused from this simple commonsense protocol, why not excuse people at the beach, the barroom or the bowling alley?

Some random observations I’ve seen in the corona masquerade… Cars in parking lots tend to social distance, whenever possible, even if their drivers do not. People who wear masks tend to be more cautious and courteous in the aisles of grocery and hardware stores, where it is not uncommon for a family group, unmasked, to block an entire aisle while debating which size package of Oreos they need. Some businesses have not required their employees to social distance or wear a mask – do they fall under the governor’s new edict?

The New York Times reports that Republican governors of some states engage in late night conference calls to discuss their dilemma. On behalf of their populace and hospital capacity, dare they defy the stable genius at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and risk ridicule or withholding of federal support?

As the USA flounders facing these issues, the White House denigrates medical experts and sends secret police into cities with Democratic mayors. Hang on tight! The masquerade is barely begun.

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