Requiring masks for customers at indoor businesses will lower risks

HALIFAX — Dear Governor Scott: Three times each week, we listen to your COVID-19 news conferences. We appreciate your patience, candor, and caution. You accept responsibility for decisions while, appropriately, deferring to your experts to provide precise and detailed answers to the questions. Your science-based approach generally increases our confidence in your decisions.

However, you have yet to provide a science-based rationale for your decision to not require that business patrons wear masks.

You and your colleagues refer to informal observations that many business patrons are wearing them. In contrast, we continue to observe very patchy compliance.

You also refer to people who, presumably for medical reasons, cannot wear masks. Frankly, people who are unable to wear masks may be too medically fragile to safely patronize indoor businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If we are to be comfortable with supporting Vermont businesses and planning Vermont “stay-cations” (as you have recommended), we need to feel safe.

We know that the risk of contracting COVID-19 will never be zero. But requiring masks for customers at indoor businesses will decrease the risks for all employees and all customers.

This will become increasingly more important as you continue to open the Vermont economy, including welcoming people from outside the state. Please make it a state requirement.

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