Public safety: Is it a ‘difference of opinion’?
The debate around public protection from the COVID-19 virus became very real for me when visiting a local gas station where there are no protective measures of any kind put into place. My conversation with the owner of this business revealed the same level of ignorance that was displayed by the employee whom I met working the very unprotected counter in their very small store. The consensus was that implementing protection was their personal choice; the fact that I was masked was for my protection. A presentation of the truer facts – that a mask protects others from our germs – was of no interest to this business owner (any more than it was to his very unprotected employee). This gentleman ended our conversation by assuring me that he does not wear a mask and will never wear a mask, and we will just leave the debate as a difference of opinion. My question is: since when is the issue of public safety any one person’s choice to make? As the only gas station in the Masham/Rupert/Wakefield corner of the municipality, serving, say, some 40 to 80 unprotected clients per day, has no one else complained? Where are the provincial guidelines? Where does the municipality stand on this issue? And who is tasked with implementing safety standards?