Mar 12 , 2021
One year ago tomorrow the President declared Covid-19 a national emergency in the USA. Less than a year later, though we finally have a vaccination some states are removing their mask mandates.
States can do this. And if people want to not wear masks, they will not be breaking the law. However, if someone chooses to not wear a mask, then that person must respect others' right to continue to wear them. Period.
You may have read or heard on the news about the Mexican restaurant in Houston, TX that has chosen to retain the right as a business to require face masks for those entering the premises- that restaurant that received threats to call ICE on employees and hate messages via social media platforms. Not OK. Period.
I guess you could say I am angry. I am not speaking for my company right this moment, though EVERYONE on our team at the bakery continues to wear masks at work out of courtesy for each other and visitors who enter, and when CDC guidance or Utah policy changes, we will convene as a team, assess our comfort level with changes against our responsibility as adults and employees of a small commercial bakery company, and update - or not- our own Covid protocol accordingly.
Covid-19 is not gone. I am speaking as a business leader and a human being who leans heavily libertarian. I understand that along with rights come responsibilities. Unfortunately, there are irresponsible adults among us in this country who have decided they have rights that others should not have.
Are we really having to revert to the beginning of this pandemic and national emergency, and having to say slllloooooowwwwly for those who just woooonnnnn't get it: No shirt. No shoes. No mask. No service. It is the right of the private business owner to make that decision- ALL private business owners, including those whose skin may be a different color or accent may be a little different- for crying out loud, whose homeland may not be this homeland- just like was the case for the forbears of how many of us?
And it is the right for the person in Texas, Montana, Mississippi, Wyoming who chooses not to wear a mask because those states have lifted their mandates, to not go into those businesses that continue to require them. It is NOT the right of those people to harrass those businesses and the people who work in them. It is the RESPONSIBILITY of all of us to respect the rights of each other. As the libertarian philosopher John Locke said so well and respectfully of all over 300 years ago, “Being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.”
What does that mean? Loosely, your rights end where mine begin- and vice versa. We all have rights- and attendant responsibilities. It is time for us to be bigger than we have been, as a country, as a society, and respect this concept and live it.
With continued commitment to your right to eat well and safely,
Lisa Cox is CEO/ SVP Sales & Marketing at Gem City Fine Foods, LLC. While she represents the company, she also speaks freely and recognizes that while this is her right, she also has the responsibility of clearly articulating that she understands others have different views, including people she works alongside.