Got a face mask? Starting Friday, you will need to wear one in “enclosed public places” in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The person serving you better be wearing one too.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, on Wednesday, said the mask requirement will not be enforced by police but by the Virginia Department of Health.
Businesses that let employees work without masks could lose their licenses and health officials could, go through a magistrate to seek misdemeanor charges against individual violators, but Northam indicated that he does not want to see that.
Instead, he said in a press conference, he would like the General Assembly to create a civil penalty for violations at a special session this summer.
The mask order, however, is bringing out the whiners who claim requiring a mask is, somehow, a violation of free speech in the Constitution.
Constitutional law experts laugh at that claim.
Others who oppose requiring a mask note that Virginia has a law outlawing wearing masks in public events. It goes back to trying to regulate the Ku Klux Klan. Many of those who oppose the law outlawing masks are thee same one who don’t want a law requiring wearing a mask during a pandemic.
Notes the International Center for Non-profit Law (NCNL):
These anti-mask laws create confusion when the government is urging people to wear masks because of COVID-19. For example, Alabama’s Attorney General had to publicly announce the state would not enforce its anti-mask ban during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor of Georgia signed an executive order suspending enforcement of its face covering law during the emergency if the wearer was doing so for the purpose of complying with guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“While some may feel that being told to wear masks impinges on their civil rights, the argument goes both ways and respect for the rights of others are part of our values and a recognized principle under the constitution,” says attorney Douglas Smillie in Pennsylvania.
Writes Bruce Y. Lee in Forbes:
Freedom has never meant, “do whatever you would like.” How would you feel if someone decided to not wear any clothes and fart with impunity in your workplace, at school, or outside your house? There are reasons why societies need rules: to protect each other. Because, believe it or not, there are people out there who don’t care about your or other people’s safety and well-being. Yes, shocking. Wearing a mask or other face covering is mainly about protecting others from you.
Actor George Takei of Star Trek Fame laughs when he hears some claim that having to wear a mask is “discrimination.”
“I didn’t spend my childhood in barbed wire enclosed internment camps, so I could listen to grown adults today cry oppression because they have to wear a mask at Costco,” he tweets.
As a child, Takei lived in a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II. Those camps were another dark time in American history.
A man asked why I was wearing a mask at Food Lion this week.
“What are you afraid of? Are you a wimp?”
“Perhaps,” I answered. “I’d rather be a live wimp than a dead idiot.”
He muttered something obscene about my ancestry as I walked away.