Diane Dean-Epps: You’re not the Lone Ranger when you wear a mask | TheUnion.com

Diane Dean-Epps: You’re not the Lone Ranger when you wear a mask

OK, I get it. We don’t all agree on this whole mask-wearing thing, but I do believe we can agree on the most important thing: It’s about respect. I believe we can agree on some other things too, when we don’t couch the wearing of masks in purely political rhetoric. We can agree we want businesses to not just survive, but thrive.

When a business posts a sign that says, “No shoes, no service,” we say, “No problem.” Though I may be tempted to enter such a fine establishment sans shoes, shouting out how it’s my right to be shoeless and, thus, free of the insidious tyrant that is shoe leather, I don’t.

In the same way, when a business displays some version of a “facial covering required” sign, we should support them, so they can remain open. Why? It’s about respect.

We can agree we want our friends, families, and communities to stay heathy. Maybe the donning of masks isn’t the “be all, end all” answer to stopping the spread of the coronavirus. However, if those vicious, virus-infused droplets generated when we cough, sneeze, talk, and just plain breathe find a barrier on their journey toward potential infection, then why not say yes to the mask? It doesn’t mean we’re completely or otherwise agreeing with the practice, nor are we poster children for the science cited behind the action. It’s about respect.

We can agree we want this catastrophic COVID-19 chapter of our collective life stories to end. Ultimately, we’re all aching to reclaim the freedom we possessed prior to the pandemic’s arrival, when we moved about daily unimpeded by rules, regulations, and fears. Wearing a mask provides us with a modicum of protection, while allowing us to capture a semblance of our previous daily routines. It’s about respect.

We can agree to disagree on the “why” it happened, focusing instead on the “what” we can do. We differ on our opinions as to the perceived risk associated with the virus, but we can focus on taking general safety precautions like wearing a mask. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with other fine health agencies, have identified the small, but mighty act of mask-wearing as a crucial practice that will move us that much closer to speaking of this pandemic in the past tense. It’s about respect.

We can agree that assigning fault for the proliferative growth of the coronavirus creates divisiveness, while coming together compassionately toward solutions unites us. Collectively, we possess great empathy for those who have suffered, and lost so much in the wake of this horrible health tsunami.

In Nevada County we’ve been more fortunate than many communities, in terms of our COVID-19 numbers. Just because we’ve avoided getting hit full-on by a train, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look both ways as we cross the tracks. I want you to be safe, healthy, and free of fear. That’s why I’m wearing my jaunty collection of masks everywhere I go. I want to be safe, healthy, and free of fear. That’s why I’m hoping you’ll wear your mask everywhere you go.

It’s about mutual respect. When you wear a mask, you’re not the Lone Ranger — more like a super hero … minus the spandex.

Diane Dean-Epps lives in Grass Valley.

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