Mask On, Mask Off: New York Trying Everything Except Not Telling People What To Do
New Yorkers can be forgiven for losing track of just when they should and should not wear (questionably effective) face masks, at least in the eyes of the entity that taxes their paychecks, regulates their businesses, and polices their compliance.
After all, the masking requirement in New York City health care facilities was lifted only last month. Public transportation mandates lasted until a half-year ago. Kids between the ages of 24 and 59 months were required by law to have their mouths and noses covered in congregate settings as recently as last June; their older K-12 siblings were only released from the rule three months prior to that. One year plus one week ago, any business found having an unvaccinated employee or customer not wearing a mask was subject to a $1,000 fine.
Even though the COVID-19 vaccine became widely available to everyone aged 5 and up beginning in November 2021, the main nonpharmaceutical intervention intended to bridge the gap between pandemic onset and inoculation remained stubbornly if haphazardly in place for months after, particularly in polities dominated by elected Democrats.
So it cannot quite count as a surprise that New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Monday once again thrust the public sector’s nose into the private choice of whether to wear a face covering.
“We are putting out a clear call to all of our shops—do not allow people to enter the store without taking off their face mask,” Adams said (emphasis mine) on AM 1010 WINS, in response to a question about increased shoplifting. “Once they’re inside, they can continue to wear it if they so desire to do so. But we need to use the technology we have available to identify those shoplifters and those who are committing serious crimes. When you see these mask-wearing people, oftentimes it’s not about being fearful of the pandemic, it’s fearful of the police catching them for their deeds, and we’re really putting the call out.”
Adams, who was elected amid a backlash against rising public disorder, pandemic-era school restrictions, and an economy battered by COVID-related disruptions, was quick to stress that his anti-masking exhortation was a recommendation and not a requirement. Ditto NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey: “We are asking the businesses to make this a condition of entry, that people when they come in, they show their face, they should identify themselves,” Maddrey said at a press conference last week. “We need our businesses to be proactive and do their due diligence. We need to make sure people are identifying themselves.”
It makes sense for local cops to be against masks—they certainly haven’t been wearing the things much, even back when it was mandatory, and New York is already the most video-surveilled metropolis in the country. No doubt city officials would love it if every corner store instituted no-mask entry, installed facial recognition software, and shared the res
Article from Reason.com