Hello again, Mayor Larson!
So in truth, what I am actually hoping to accomplish is the adoption of an ordinance requiring masks inside of buildings (stores and offices and other public establishments), which is where COVID-19 most likely to spread. I figured aiming high is better than too low, because then we can discuss these alternatives as a compromise.
I don’t see the recent weeks’ demonstrations as being a good reason to not pursue this option, as Minneapolis has made masks mandatory inside of public establishments, and they are the epicenter of the protests in Minnesota. You are protecting the lives of disabled, Black, Brown and elderly Duluthians when you require masks in the places COVID-19 is most likely to spread (indoors).
You are NOT protecting us when you don’t do everything in your power, specifically as Mayor, to stop the spread of COVID-19. Also I think ordinances are exactly how you “motivate” people to be good neighbors – because it’s not about motivation at all. We have ordinances about all sorts of things unrelated to goodwill and buy-in. This is about protecting the safety and life (I would say Human Rights) of those most vulnerable to COVID-19 due to their health and systematic inequities.
Although I am glad you are displaying your personal values without a mandate, I am not satisfied by this response because you have much more authority than the average citizen and are choosing not to use it at the cost of human lives. I know that sounds harsh, but it is reality. Even if more people (not all) wore masks because of an indoor mask mandate, that is better than nothing and it would reduce the spread and save lives.
You will never have 100% adherence to a law, but that does not mean we abolish all laws because human behavior is imperfect. Rather, we create laws and ordinances that uphold the basic human rights of all people. Masks are not an undue burden. Dealing with the terrifying possibility of contracting and dying of COVID-19 so that people don’t have to be bothered with masks is indeed an undue burden, one that is falling squarely on the shoulders of the marginalized and oppressed.
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