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Viewpoint: Tip your mask - what's the point of wearing one?

WAND-17 aired a story with headline Public asked to 'tip your mask' when entering stores to shop on April 29.

The article states that "All Illinois shoppers out and about during the pandemic are asked to tip their masks in order to avoid confusion and anxiety between the public and business owners."

The idea behind "mask tipping", which is about as dumb as cow tipping, but not nearly as consequential, is when you enter an establishment reach up and pull down your mask so the clerk can briefly see your face.

Why tip? According to the article, "People are asked to slightly lower their mask and briefly show their faces when they enter a store to let employees know they are simply there to shop."

This is some kind of stupid.

I don't know about you but from where I sit, I am far more concerned with being heavily sedated and having a ventilator tube crammed down my throat for four days or longer than I am about being robbed while working behind a counter.

At this point, I believe the odds of contracting the Coronavirus is higher than being robbed in the course of one business day. Plus, the survival rate of an armed robbery is much higher than the 20% figure for that of incubated COVID patients.

Just before surgery, should we now ask the operating staff to pull down their masks so you know they are there simply to cut you open and take out your tonsils, add a cup size, or perform that biopsy scheduled weeks ago? If you don't see their faces, how do you know someone in the room isn't going to harvest your kidney or a lung to sell on the black market? How do you know?

We don't. It is a matter of trust.

If I'm a clerk behind a counter, I don't think that seeing a customer walk in and flash their pearly whites is a guarantee they aren't going to pull out a chrome .45, take the money from the till and I wind up dead.

Mask tipping defeats the entire public health purpose of wearing a mask. The stop gap public policy by design is to lower the volume of active virus material in an environment, thus making an infection from a high communicable pathogen harder to get until a cure or treatment protocol is established is in place. This is what makes mask tipping a stupid idea.

Unless you haven't been paying attention from the back of the class, it takes a special kind of stupid to ask patrons to enter your establishment after touching a likely contaminated door handle with gloves that likely already carrying viral material and then ask them to put their hand on their mask to pull it down. In the process, the customer is transferring active virus cells to an area near their face all the while either inhaling or exhaling contributing to the existing volume.

If shop owners and managers want customers to tip their mask, hopefully they will be courteous enough to put signs on their door politely asking customers enter their establishment to do so.

That way, those of us who are concerned more about our own health and the well-being of our neighbors can just pass them by. I would rather spend my money for goods and services at a business that reflects a commitment to public health and works to help keep our community safe.



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