The City of Edmonton decided this week that everyone should wear masks indoors in public places as of August 1. There are some exceptions, such as when eating and drinking, and for those with medical conditions that make wearing masks impossible, but for the rest of us when going to the store, masks will be required.
When I went to the grocery store yesterday, Jul 30, I was pleased to see that most people were already abiding by the new rules. Two weeks ago when I was grocery shopping I guessed that fewer than 50% had masks on, but on this trip to the store I would estimate that over 80% of shoppers were wearing masks.
We were helped in this by a young woman who was standing at the entry door, handing out masks. She was also offering to wipe down the handles on the shopping carts and to provide a squirt of hand sanitizer.
Also standing at the entry door, just beyond the young woman with the masks was a very tall, very sturdy, security guard. As people entered the store, he reminded those without masks that they would do well to wear a mask. He was in a tricky spot because he could not tell people it was required, exactly, but he wanted as many people as possible to volunteer.
Ahead of me at the doorway were two men, both without masks. The security guard reminded the first man that the purpose of the mask was to protect other people, not himself, but the man declined anyway. He gave the impression that he was in too much of a hurry. The second man, wearing a biker jacket in 30 C heat, was less civil. I couldn’t hear all that he said, but it was some sort of objection to authoritarianism. I’m paraphrasing.
A woman who followed me into the store asked a nearby store employee “What is his problem?” Then she said, “What a jerk!” She got several signs of agreement from people who were otherwise choosing melons. I gave her a grin that she could not actually see because I was wearing a mask.
If, by some miracle, there are any biker dudes reading this, or Libertarians, or anyone who wants to “stick it to The Man,” I have news for you. You aren’t defying authority; you are putting your neighbours’ lives at risk. The authorities, whoever they are, are not quaking in their boots at your rebellion. They are shaking their heads in bewilderment.
You are that kid in middle school who wouldn’t do the work because they did not want to be a pleb, or they were too smart for that stuff, or they didn’t see why they had to. The teacher just shook her head and sighed because she knew what would happen to that kid. He would end up wearing a biker jacket in 30 degree heat, refusing to wear a mask during a pandemic.