Flemming: The government that cried ‘mask mandate’

By David Flemming

As Gov. Phil Scott’s mask mandate looms on Aug. 1, a popular question many Vermonters are asking is “how strictly will it be enforced?” Perhaps nothing much will change, as the vast majority of Vermonters already wear masks when out in public. Maybe police will only give warnings. Maybe it will be enforced by social shaming rather than fines and imprisonment. Or maybe Vermont will follow after Florida, where people are being fined $100 for taking off their masks in nearly-empty parking lots after grocery shopping.

If the state views universal mask wearing as the single most important goal for keeping Covid-19 at bay, perhaps we should ask, has the law been upheld impartially with a lack of personal vindictiveness during the pandemic? Is the law a line that any self-respecting Vermonter will not cross, because they believe upholding the law is a sacred societal bond, personal beliefs about the mask mandate aside?

Wikimedia Commons/amirappel

If we take as a given that the mask mandate is really necessary toward stifling a Covid-19 outbreak, how often will Vermonters treat this seriously, when our Legislature passes such nonsense legislation in years (and months) prior?

Just across Lake Champlain, the answer is most assuredly not. After New York bars tried serving drinks to guests to stay afloat, Cuomo demanded that they serve food or risk being shut down. Many bars began offering $1 “Cuomo chips” to meet the new regulation. That loophole closed last week. Cuomo threw down the gauntlet — bars could only remain open if they served “substantive food.” Sandwiches met that substantive food provision. Hors d’oeuvres and chicken wings did not. This is supposedly supposed to encourage patrons to stay in their seats. I’m personally more comfortable eating a sandwich standing up and eating chicken wings sitting down. The regulation doesn’t make sense and comes across as laughably petty.

Even here in Vermont we haven’t had it much better. Sean Manovill tried re-opening Club Fitness of Vermont, a gym in Rutland. A judge ordered it closed. Manovill moved the gym’s equipment to the parking lot and tried re-opening again. At that point Attorney General T.J. Donovan filed a civil lawsuit against Manovill.

Vermonters are probably more aware of the Rutland story than the New York one, but both make the very idea of the law being enforced by neutral government agents seem like a pipe dream. Even before the absurdity of vindictive Covid-19 laws, our Legislature passed a host of cumbersome unnecessary laws — “gender free restrooms,” cutting off permission for 18-20 year olds who can fight in the military to buy cigarettes and guns, removing slavery from our Constitution and banning plastic bags — all the while maintaining Vermont’s status as the third-most taxed state in the country.

And when the rule of law is treated as the Legislature’s and bureaucracy’s personal plaything, any future orders, no matter how much sense they make, are bound to foster indignation toward the law. Indignant people are less likely to obey. Appeals to reason are repelled by Vermonters with long memories.

If we take as a given that the mask mandate is really necessary toward stifling a Covid-19 outbreak, how often will Vermonters treat this seriously, when our Legislature passes such nonsense legislation in years (and months) prior? The government that cried “mask mandate” may indeed start to look like the boy who cried wolf. One can only hope that the Covid-19 is truly less dangerous than the doomsayers proclaim, because respect for the law cannot be relied upon to encourage mask wearing compliance. Threats and shame are the only tools left for enforcement. Maybe next time the Legislature will think twice about legislating pettiness.

I will be wearing my mask out of respect for my neighbors and not my government’s casually oblivious treatment of the law before this mask mandate. But I won’t be wasting this opportunity to tell my neighbors how dangerous it was for the government to be passing such asinine legislation leading up to 2020.

David Flemming is a policy analyst for the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Images courtesy of Public domain and Wikimedia Commons/amirappel

12 thoughts on “Flemming: The government that cried ‘mask mandate’

  1. I didn’t believe in mandates that won’t accomplish anything and this one
    won’t, as it’s all politics.

    I carry a mask every where I go, as some small businesses I use make it
    ” mandatory ” to enter there property, when I enter, I comply for me it’s not
    a big deal if I had issues with it I wouldn’t enter …………….

    So the Scott ” Mandate ” how’s it working, well this weekend was the launch
    most businesses had posting but not ” enforced” , I asked a few stores why not
    I was told they cannot make people wear a mask , now that’s pure BS as I see
    it every day in other businesses.

    I guess the management in certain businesses care more about profit than the
    risk to it’s customers…

    Mask are not the cure all, but what do they hurt…….nothing and I don’t need the
    Governor mandating and not enforcing ……. Liberal politics front & center !!!

  2. There is one selfish reason for wearing a mask. You are protecting yourself, to heck with everyone else. If the folks across this land were truly selfish, all would be wearing masks. Get with the program and take care of yourselves!!!!! We’d all be pleasantly surprised to see the virus infection rate gradually decline.

    • Still in denial and spouting Mao Scott’s propaganda. Do some research on sources other than the mainstream media, government, the CDC, and the WHO next time you want to post.

  3. One of the problems I have with my liberal friends is that they treat climate change as an ideological issue that can be addressed with impractical Vermont solutions.
    Why the Covid-19 crisis has gotten so bad in our country is President Trump has similarly attempted to treat this virus on an ideological basis.
    You can not bend a virus to your will. You have to treat it as a disease and like any other illness use the best tools available constantly adjusting as things develop. Governor Scott has done this extremely well and the proof is in the results of Vermont, so far doing the best is the nation in how this pandemic has been handled. Competence matters.

    • The President has not treated this on an ideological basis.

      If you look at what the President did for a living- he’s obviously chosen to not be a scared sheep type of a person. You can keep calm and carry on or you can crawl under the bed in fear- or hide behind a mask- rather.

      Where you get your information from, how you developed your filter, what you allow through your own filter, and what you have for a reaction is your own business. The President has nothing to do with that.
      The same exact people that live in fear of the weather are now living in fear of a flu with a 98.8% recovery rate.
      A flu that has killed 56 people that were largley at the end of their lives in nursing homes.
      A flu that darned near not a single person is even in the hospital over.
      It’s now being said that this no longer even qualifies to be called a pandemic.
      There were 9 states that never even shut down-if you remember.

      And, this is about Bankers, not sick people anyway..
      Wake Up, the debt bubble burst and you are looking at the fallout of that.
      A controlled collapse because another big brilliant idea by our “betters” was a fail.
      Wecome to the Reset..where the majority of the little people, their kids and grandchildren will get screwed yet again.
      If you are looking at a “virus” then you are looking at the wrong thing.

    • Bipartisan beatdown lol? Slamming President Trump under guise of disagreement with your “liberal friends” disingenous-Dem cheap shot. Guilt by association doesn’t cut muster. Just not seeing it *at all*.

      FYI: DJT is riding a bucking tiger standing against the darkest forces in our evil world. For someone who clearly disagrees with the Deep State medical mob – puts on a brave face and presents a positive perspective to keep everyone engaged and to do what he believes is best for all – no matter how flawed the logic behind it may be.

      It is in fact the so called ‘scientists’ between the sheets in the ideological bed – rejecting settled science re HQC and other proven treatments and remedies in favor of the ones in which Fauci the freakish fraud holds several patents lol? And a board member along w/Birx of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation who also stands to greatly profit? Hmm – ideology indeed lol!

  4. Stop calling it a ‘law’ – it’s not. The governor acting alone can’t produce a law. There’s also no enforcement and no force can issue fines, since they won’t know (and have no right to ask) who can’t wear a mask due to medical conditions.

  5. Okay.. here we go. People have had it.

    Global News

    Anti #Covid19 Protests in #Berlin, #Germany

    People says that they want their freedom.

    6:37 am
    Aug.1 2020

  6. And then, here in NH, we have Rep.Dave Testerman that is telling us to think with our brains and make an intelligent and informed decision and don’t just be an ignorant Follower.

    source: granitegrok.com

    “Don’t comply with Covid guidelines out of Ignorance”

    “Most concerning is that people seem to be falling in line to whatever the latest rule or guidline is from on high like the old game of lemmings, blindly marching over the cliff..”

    “Remember the complete quote of John Stark is really “Live Free or Die. Death is not the worst of the Evils. Stark was saying that sometimes hiding in fear of death is not what is required.”

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