Judith O’Neill: Are the bullies going to win? | TheUnion.com

Judith O’Neill: Are the bullies going to win?

On a Saturday in the early morning I went into the hardware store for the first time in a year. I had gotten both vaccine shots and was wearing a mask for the sake of others. To my surprise, some shoppers without masks were inside the store.

After checking out, I asked to speak with the manager because of my concerns about being forced into aisles to check out within proximity to maskless shoppers. The manager came — as it turned out he was the owner — and we had a civilized conversation about customers in the store who were maskless.

I inquired why this was being allowed after signs at the front door said, “Masks Required.” I was told it’s very hard having a business during these COVID-19 times, with which I expressed sympathy. He explained to me that when asked to put masks on, shoppers get angry and even threaten store personnel. So it appears to me the store owner and the staff are being intimidated about enforcing the mask requirement.

I’m an 80-year-old woman who was taught bullies win because we acquiesce. If you’re as old as I am, you can remember the “no shoes, no shirts, no service” signs. Once controversial, now the norm.

Let’s support with our shopping dollars local stores like the BriarPatch, which is courageously enforcing a masks and distancing requirement. Health and safety are their goals for all their personnel and shoppers — no bullies allowed — and we can feel safe to shop.

We are at a critical juncture. Just look at the The Union’s (April 3) report of COVID-19 cases in Nevada County — a jump of 22 from the previous day, and that day’s total had jumped by 13 new cases from the day before, and nine the day before. Do we see a trend here? Forty-four new cases in three days, and the curve rises sharply! Are we going to let the bullies win?

Judith O’Neill

Grass Valley

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