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Written By NaviPay Blog Contributor:
Suzanne Davis
Coastal Business Evolution, LLC

It’s more like don’t ask. Do not ask someone about where they stand regarding wearing masks in public. The debate is a ridiculously hot and steamy (kind of like the inside of your cloth mask if you take too long in the grocery store.) The “Pro-Maskers” and the “Anti-Maskers” as I call both sides of the issue have extraordinarily strong, vastly different opinions on the effectiveness and even the safety of wearing masks.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 there were 5511 new cases of COVID-19 reported, shattering our previous one-day record of 4049 reported last Saturday. Of course, we could argue that more testing means more positives. So, then you look to percentages. In the beginning of the pandemic we had 6.5% of all tests taken coming back as positive in Florida. That was way back when we started the stay at home order.  That positive percentage has now jumped to 15.91%–it has more than doubled and we certainly all want to avoid another shut down.

Those are some crazy, scary numbers and we are all here just arguing about masks. While we argue, the county governments decided to act. On June 19, Martin County issued Emergency Order 20-11 stating that “all persons working in restaurants grocery stores, food service, any retail establishments, businesses open to the public or any other locations visited by the public where social distancing is not possible shall wear face coverings. All people visiting such places are “strongly encouraged” to wear face coverings. On Tuesday, June 23, the Palm Beach County Commissioners (in-spite of a very angry spirited crowd of “Anti-Masker’s) voted unanimously to proceed with an executive order “requiring masks or facial coverings to be worn in public places”. The details of the order include enforcement and reporting measures as well as penalties.

In both counties, if you WORK in a public place, ‘to mask or not to mask” is no longer a question. What is a question, is the fairness of requiring workers to wear them in Martin County but not requiring the same of those visiting businesses. In Palm Beach County and 39 other municipalities in the state, mask-wearing in public is now required not just for the workforce but for all individuals. Business owners are rightfully concerned about non-compliance. Penalties such as revocation of business licenses. Regardless of where you stand on the mask debate, following your local ordinances, especially if you are a customer, is simply the right thing to do for local businesses.

How heated is the debate between “Anti” and “Pro” Maskers? Extremely heated. Most of the arguing has been conducted on social media surrounding a much-referenced post “quoting” a mysterious OSHA expert, Rhonda Osborn, who is “OSHA 10 & 30 certified”.  The post makes an argument that masks are ineffective and that they even pose a health risk!! This long-winded post has been posted again and again. We decided to dig deeper for more info which led us to Snopes.com.  The Snopes fact-checking concluded that the post had “dubious origins” and was “mostly false”. They also included a statement from OSHA that the 10 & 30 certification is for general workplace safety and does not cover COVID 19 protocols at all. In fact, OSHA recommends and encourages face coverings in the workplace as a method to help prevent the spread of COVID 19. The bottom line, scientific wisdom concludes that wearing that mask, using social distancing, frequent hand washing, and other safety measures that the CDC suggests is much more effective than doing nothing at all in protecting others from the spread of COVID 19.

The conclusion, wearing a mask might be one way of taking a little bit of control of a situation that seems out of control. And now with the current ordinances, you are doing the right thing to keep our local businesses open. Think of it as being pro-business and simply being a good human! Stay well!

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