A case for wearing masks in public

It’s time to stop denying the realities of the coronavirus and put your masks on. The disease has killed 120,000 Americans and 30,000 New Yorkers have died from it. If those numbers don’t convince you, probably nothing will.

Since Gov. Andrew Cuomo held his first briefing on the pandemic in March, he has not wavered from his belief, based on science and not wishful thinking, that the only ways to flatten the curve was to shut down the world as we knew it, stay at home and social distance. Several weeks later, he said with similar conviction that wearing face coverings in public would bring down the infection rate even further.

Lo and behold, it is working.

While New York is reopening its economy slowly and patiently and carefully, states such as Texas and Florida are seeing record surges of coronavirus infection and are rolling back their reopenings.

President Donald J. Trump and his officials wrongly pushed for swift reopening and assured Americans it was safe to do so. The people who believed this thought it was now safe to go out in public without face coverings. As a result, we have been in big-box stores, supermarkets, convenience stores and small shops and seen that masks are not part of the summer wardrobe.

Some stores are, we hope, enforcing the no-mask, no-entry rule, but enforcement at many stores is lax. This puts maskless customers at risk of passing infection to each other and could endanger the customers who are playing by the rules to protect themselves.

If health and safety is to mean anything, retailers of all sizes must hold their customers to account and enforce the face covering requirement.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1