Tag Archives: masks

Masks still ‘required’

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

We ran some errands today, driving from our home in Princeton into McKinney and then to Fairview, Texas looking for some items to purchase.

We strolled into three major department stores: Kohl’s, JC Penney and Macy’s.

What do you suppose we saw plastered on the doors of all three establishments? Signs that told us that “masks are required” for entry.

We also walked into a craft shop, where we were told that because of COVID precautions, we also had to wash our hands before touching any of the merchandise.

Hmm. I was impressed. We had our masks. We were wearing them, which we do as a matter of routine these days.

What impressed me is that many business owners are ignoring the lifting of the mask mandate declared by Gov. Greg Abbott. Hey, I mean no disrespect to Gov. Abbott, even though I believe he was premature in lifting the mandate.

I do mean to say something good about business establishments that continue to insist we mask up and stay the heck away from each other while the nation battles through this pandemic.

Masks: a new way of life?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

My ol’ noggin occasionally receives random thoughts, which I occasionally share on this blog. It did so just now, so here goes.

I am wondering if mask-wearing is going to become a permanent way of life for us in the U.S. of A. Why wonder that?

I have traveled a bit over the years. I have been to Asia and Europe and Latin America. One of the sights I cannot get out of my mind’s eye at the moment is the sight of all those folks in heavily polluted cities like Taipei, Bangkok, Delhi, Mumbai and Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon) who wear masks while they’re going about their daily business.

Why do they wear them? The air is so polluted they dare not expose their lungs to any more carcinogens than they already do … even with the masks covering their mouth and nose.

The COVID pandemic has produced at least one positive effect: a significant reduction in air pollution in places such as those I just mentioned. Perhaps those folks are no longer wearing masks at this moment to the extent I witnessed them while traveling to those cities. Then again, the pandemic eventually will wither and die.

Heck, I might have become so used to wearing a mask by the time they signal the “all clear” that I won’t want to stop wearing it.

What about small towns?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A headline in the Texas Tribune speaks loudly about some mayors’ response to Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to pull back his mask-wearing mandate.

It said: Texas’ largest cities will keep requiring masks in municipal buildings even after statewide mandate ends

I have no problem with what those mayors are doing, saying and how they are reacting to what I believe is a premature decision by Gov. Abbott.

My question is this: What are small-town and smaller-city mayors doing? Are they going to have the same reaction?

I live in a small town. Princeton, Texas, is home to about 13,000 residents, give or take a few hundred. We are perched along U.S. Highway 380 between McKinney to the west (population 200,000) and Farmersville to the east (population 5,000). I am acquainted with the mayors of Princeton and Farmersville. My strongest hope is that they, too, will invoke mask mandates in municipally owned buildings.

The Texas Tribune reports: Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and El Paso’s leaders announced Wednesday and Thursday that masks will be required to enter city-owned indoor spaces like libraries, police and fire department headquarters, convention centers and transportation hubs.

“I am going to issue an order mandating masks at all city-owned buildings. We have to do what we are legally allowed to do to get people to wear masks,” Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said on Twitter Thursday morning. “We also still need to practice social distancing. And we still need to avoid taking unnecessary risks. The pandemic is not over.”

Texas’ largest cities will require masks in municipal buildings | The Texas Tribune

No. It is not over. It is not yet close to being over. I will acknowledge, though, that the arrival of a third vaccine — from Johnson & Johnson — means that the end of this horror might be approaching.

Given that our smaller communities don’t get the kind of media attention that the big cities get, I want there to be a significant push by those city halls to get the word out immediately to their constituents. They need to let them know through any means necessary.

Of course, this strategy should apply to small cities and towns all across our vast state. Gov. Abbott can declare, I suppose, that state-owned buildings need not carry “Mask Required” signs. A state governed by politicians who adhere to the “local control is best” mantra should have no trouble allowing city halls to set their own rules regarding the best way to battle the COVID virus.

Let us not forget that President Biden has ordered masks and social distancing in all federal buildings at least for the first 100 days of his administration. My gut tells me he likely will extend that mandate well beyond that artificial deadline.

I will await word from my mayor, Brianna Chacon, on what she intends to do. I hope she stays the mask-wearing course.

Shuck the mask? No thanks

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is considering whether to lift the state’s mask mandate that’s been in effect since July.

My request to the governor? Don’t do it. Not yet. Please.

I am going to go with what I understand are guidelines set by medical experts familiar with the COVID-19 virus. The Texas Tribune reports:

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that people who have received two doses of the vaccine continue to avoid crowds, stay at least 6 feet away from people who live outside their households, and wear masks to cover their nose and mouth.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease doctor, has repeatedly said that he does not know when Americans will be able to return to normal, but that they may still need to continue wearing face masks into 2022.

Gov. Greg Abbott weighing end to mask order, other Texas coronavirus rules | The Texas Tribune

I have received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Effective tomorrow, my bride will have received her two doses. We’re going to keep wearing masks despite a decision to withdraw the mandate … if Gov. Abbott is foolish enough to do it.

Accepting the new normal

I just completed an errand run that took me to a grocery store, an automobile parts department, a battery shop and a bank lobby.

What do these places have in common? Every customer and business employee were masked up.

This is the new normal, or at least part of the new normal that I am finding more acceptable by the day. Actually, wearing a mask before entering a business has become virtually second nature to me.

This is how we must cope with life in the Age of the Pandemic. Or, at least until they find a vaccine that makes us (more of less) immune from it.

I don’t wear my mask out of some patriotic fervor, as Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has suggested as a reason to wear a mask. I don’t wear it to make a political statement of any sort, which is what fans of Donald Trump have suggested.

Oh, no. I wear the mask because I subscribe the theory promoted by medical experts that they help keep us clear of the killer virus.

I maintain social distance whenever possible; at times it isn’t, such as at the parts department today when several of us got crowded in a corner of the room. But we were all masked up!

Of all the new normal activities that still annoy me, I have to say this fist-bumping, and elbow-bumping when we greet people drives me a bit nuts. I am a handshake guy. I have a firm handshake and I enjoy grasping someone’s hand — be it a stranger or a friend — just to let them know I am glad to see them. I don’t have a bone-crushing grip … you know, like the one Superman used in “Superman II”  where he pulverized Zod’s hand.

The mandates about masks, social distancing and all the other preventative measures are OK by me. Indeed, it seems a bit strange to look around and hardly even notice that everyone is wearing a mask.

It’s called adaptability, man.

It’s not about ‘my body, my choice’ to wear a mask

My head is likely to explode the next time I hear a Donald Trump supporter blurt out that idiocy about mask-wearing, declaring that it’s “my body, my choice” to wear a mask.

Spoiler alert: I used the “head … explode” statement as a figure of speech.

But still, I keep hearing that mantra coming from those who think mask-wearing infringes on their civil liberties. I saw a woman on TV last night tell a reporter that her decision to forgo a mask during this coronavirus pandemic is strictly her choice and that the government has no right to dictate how she cares for her body.

Note to the lady — who was standing next to a “Trump-Pence” campaign sign — and to others who hold that preposterous view: The issue transcends your body and your choice by a factor of, oh, millions and millions.

Those who insist that they should be able to decide whether to wear a mask are embarking on a selfish, uncaring, thoughtless and reckless view of the world around them. They are endangering others, perhaps even their loved ones, by refusing to comply with government mandates.

I live in Texas, a state known for its residents’ independent outlook on life and liberty. However, our community in Collin County, I am proud to declare, has been relatively quiet in terms of mask-wearing. My wife and I don’t get out much these days, but when we do we see practically everyone around us wearing masks. I haven’t seen any protest signs, or individuals arguing with the cops who are empowered to enforce the mandate.

I went to the grocery store recently and eavesdropped on one woman griping to a store employee about the ordered issued by Gov. Greg Abbott. Good grief, lady. Get a grip.

I guess my bottom line on this specious argument is that the morons among us who bitch about mask-wearing as an infringement on their “constitutional rights” are entitled to forgo the masks.

Just stay the hell away from me, my family … and everyone else!

Georgia governor: No. 1 knucklehead

I hereby nominate Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp as Knucklehead of the Month, maybe the year.

How did the Republican governor earn this dubious distinction? By issuing an executive order that overrides local officials in Georgia who have ordered residents to wear masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

What in the name of public safety has gotten into Kemp?

Kemp issued the order because, by golly, he just doesn’t see the need to wear masks. He ignores the stern and serious advice from damn near every medical professional on Earth who tell us that masks — along with social distancing — are sure-fire preventatives against the disease that continues to sicken and kill Americans.

I am heartened that fellow Republican governors — such as Texas’ Greg Abbott — see the situation quite differently. Abbott has gone in the opposite direction, ordering masks when Texans venture into indoor settings.

Moreover, companies that are doing business in Georgia have ordered their employees and customers who enter their establishments to wear masks. That means that Gov. Kemp can issue executive orders until the cows come home, some folks in his state aren’t going to listen.

This is part and parcel of what has happened in this country. We have politicized a global pandemic that is taking no prisoners. The coronavirus has killed 138,000 Americans. It has sickened more than 3 million of us. Our nation’s rate of death and infection far exceed the percentage of the worldwide population that resides in the United States.

And yet we have Republican politicians — led by the Idiot in Chief, Donald Trump — flouting medical advice by refusing to wear masks. Their political followers walk in lockstep with them, refusing to maintain proper distance. What happens then? The rate of infection skyrockets, right along with the rate of hospitalization … and death!

Then we get my nominee for Knucklehead of the Month issuing an idiotic executive order that seeks to override local officials’ tough decisions on how to keep their constituents safe from a viral infection that could kill them.

Stupidity is alive inside the Georgia statehouse.

Lo and behold, Trump dons a mask!

Well now, that wasn’t so bad, was it Mr. President?

Donald Trump had infamously avoided wearing a surgical mask in public, despite pleas from his coronavirus pandemic response team that masks are an essential preventive measure against the killer virus.

Trump said he thought the masks looked bad for the president of the United States. How utterly, completely ridiculous!

He went to Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., today to visit with some of our wounded warriors. He wore the mask and allowed pictures of him to be snapped and distributed around the world.

Did anyone on Earth laugh out loud at the sight of Donald Trump wearing a mask? I don’t think so, even though there might have been some giggling at the idiocy expressed by Trump about his reluctance to wear a mask.

Masks serve a dual purpose. They protect the health of those who wear them. They also protect those who stand near the person wearing the mask.

So, it’s not about whether someone looks good wearing a mask. It’s about protecting people’s health and possibly saving their lives.

The president needs to lead in that effort and ditch that moronic notion that we have this virus “under control.” We don’t. Donald Trump needs to wear a mask whenever he ventures into public view.

Listen, the governor’s order is lawful and sensible

I had an up-close view of an exchange today between a woman who was shopping at our local supermarket in Princeton and a young man who was filling the shelves with goods to be sold.

The woman doesn’t like Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s order for everyone to wear masks while out in public. She thinks it’s an overreach. She believes Abbott is a tyrant for ordering us to wear masks that, in his view, saves our lives and, more to the point, prevents exposure of others to the COVID-19 virus that’s been in all the papers of late.

She said something about putting a message on the outside of her mask that in effect tells the governor to go straight to hell. 

I stood by waiting for her to finish her rant, as she was standing in front of something I wanted to put in my shopping cart. She shot me a glance a time or two, as if looking for moral support to the argument she was trying to make to the supermarket vendor. I didn’t provide it. Maybe she looked in my eyes and noticed I wasn’t buying the bullsh** she was peddling.

I so wanted to tell her: Ma’am, if you’re going to resist wearing the mask, then you can just go ahead and drive your car without buckling your seat belt and tell me how it goes when the cop pulls you over to write a citation for breaking the law. 

I didn’t go there. I am not a confrontational sort of guy. So I let her vent and rant and carry on as if Gov. Abbott had just ordered her to sacrifice one of her children.

I realize there are others who share this idiot’s view. That’s their call. Just stay the hell away from me and my family if you’re going to defy a lawful executive order.

Masks becoming a way of life

That’s me behind the mask. The mask itself is a repurposed curtain that used to hand in a room in our former home in Amarillo. My wife has turned it into the uniform of the day.

It’s functional, even though my glasses fog up when I don the mask and am forced to breathe while my nose and mouth are covered.

I want to show this to you to launch a brief blog post that suggests these masks are going to become a part of our lives for the foreseeable future as we take measures to stave off the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is likely to begin lifting some of the restrictions imposed on Texans. The Princeton City Council, which governs the city where we live, has laid down restrictions on top of what Abbott has declared. Restaurants are closed to dine-in customers; churches aren’t having in-person services on Sunday; assorted services are closed, such as hair salons, nail parlors, coffee shops.

The masks have become a ubiquitous presence in Princeton. I see them on all grocery store employees, as mandated by their corporate bosses. Most customers are masked up; my wife and I wear our masks.

We’re all keeping our distance, even while we wear the masks.

I guess this is my way of saying that I actually am beginning to get used to donning the mask when I exit our truck.

It would do us all well to get used to it, too.