On April 28th Jet Blue announced that it would require all passengers to wear masks. Within two days, their stock jumped nearly 20 percent. This just goes to show you that people like when companies put their customers’ safety first. People will only partake in a business, if they feel safe enough to do so. According to a Hill-HarrisX poll 68% of Americans agree with mandatory mask policies in some capacity. In a time of complete lack of leadership at the federal level, it is up to state officials and local businesses to do the nearly impossible task of making people wear masks in public settings. If businesses want to keep their doors open, they know that enforcing such a policy is of paramount importance to their bottom line. The question is, however, how far is a business willing to go to enforce this policy? Will it choose safety over short-term financial gain?
I do not know why this point has to keep being made, but here it goes one more time: YOU WEAR A FACE MASK IN PUBLIC TO PROTECT OTHERS FROM YOU – In other words, if you do not wear a mask you are essentially telling every person you come in contact with “I DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOU OR YOUR FAMILY.” Nearly 70% of all Americans think it is a sign of respectfulness to wear a mask around others.
Many of us have seen the confrontational mask videos and heard the reasons why some people refuse to respect their fellow human. “Freedom” is usually their first argument. If only they understood the word. You do not have the freedom to harm others. Go ahead, patriot, find that “right” in the constitution. If only they had the faintest understanding of the so-called “freedom” they are invoking. Roger Pilon writes in The Cato Handbook for Policy Makers, “America’s founders understood clearly that private property is the foundation not only of prosperity but of freedom itself.” In other words, the root of constitutional freedom is private ownership. Let us return to the business that these mask-less people are attempting to enter. All of these businesses are on private property, thus it is they who have the constitutional “freedom” to enforce their policies on their patron. Remember you are CHOOSING to patronize their establishment. The point I am making here is that it is the business that has the constitutional right (i.e. the “freedom”) in this situation to enforce a mask policy. No shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service!
A little over a week ago, a video went viral of a maskless old man pushing and shoving his way into a Florida Wal-Mart. The poor Wal-Mart employee had to try to stop this old man from entering the store as the old man assaulted him. Comically (and karmically) the old man fell on his face as he vainly attempted to violently shove the employee. The fall did not stop him, however, he kept on trying to get in. The brave, dutiful employee stood his ground, and he remained calm and in control of the situation. (If Wal-Mart hasn’t given him a raise or a bonus yet, they really should.) The employee rose to the moment. The most infuriating part of the video, however, is -- after all of the pushing, falling, and pushing some more -- another employee can be heard, asking the man “You want a mask?” This is ridiculous. After this outburst, this old man should not only not be allowed in the store (mask or not), he should be charged with assault.
Was this old man’s reason for not wearing a mask, freedom? If it was then ask him about the Wal-Mart employee’s freedom. One would think that the employee has the freedom to not be attacked by some old crank just for doing his job and enforcing a company safety policy, which the majority of customers support.
One of the first confrontational mask videos to go viral was actually posted by the non-mask wearer himself to his “3000 followers” on Instagram. At this point, hundreds of thousands of people have seen the video. The non-mask wearer is in Costco with a carriage full of items, and he starts filming and berating the dutiful Costco employee who is simply enforcing the company safety policy. The customer says he will not put on a mask because he "woke up in free country." It is at this moment the Costco employee takes the customer's cart and tells him that he is no longer welcome in Costco and asks him to leave. The mask-less customer then insults the employee, calling him “A p**** little b****” (the video below censors him and uses the wrong subtitles for his expletives) and then the customer insults everyone else in the store by calling them “f*****’ sheep.” Consider for a moment how incredibly deranged this non-mask wearer’s thinking actually is. He was so proud of himself in the video that he was actually the one who posted it. The ignorance of this unmasked shopper is breathtaking, and unfortunately it is representative of the group as a whole.
This Costco employee’s action, on the other hand, is emblematic of the objective of this entire post. That is, he did not give the customer a second warning. He showed that he was absolutely serious and that there can be no grey area with this issue. He took decisive action and he figuratively and literally never looked back. In other words, businesses have to start immediately throwing people off of their property who refuse to comply.
Costco has been praised extensively for its stance on this issue. Likewise, Wall Street heaped its praise, so to speak, on Jet Blue for their mask policy. Nearly everyday for the past couple of weeks, all across the country, new coronavirus cases have set daily record highs. Even people, who were resistant to mandatory mask policies early on in the crisis have since come around on the issue. Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and Fox News Host Sean Hannity have each recently made statements encouraging public mask use. The president's allies are finally disagreeing with their "fearless leader." The mask issue is so crucial that even partisanship must be left at the door.
The whole mask debate began when the president said that the CDC recommends face masks, but that he wasn’t going to wear one. It’s “voluntary,” he emphasized. With these words he riled up his ignorant base, and they went full on deplorable. Nonetheless, many of Trump’s supporters also own businesses, and even though they always supported him in the past because they said he was “good for business,” they are starting to realize that following him in this situation could cost them dearly. These business owners understand that if people do not feel safe and/or their employees get sick, then that is very bad for business.
If a business hopes to stay afloat and make money for years to come, then in the short term they will have to be tough on non-mask wearers and inform these misguided, freedom-loving patriots that their money is no good in their establishment. If businesses do not do this, then they will certainly suffer for it – either there will be another forced shutdown because the virus has spread out of control, or the majority of safety-conscious customers will just stop going there altogether out of fear. Either way, the bottom line will be decimated.
Businesses have nothing to lose by being tough on non-mask wearers and everything to gain. The best-case scenario for a business is that some ignorant, selfish lowlife decries its hard stance on mask wearing on social media. That is a sign to all of us who actually care about our safety and the safety of others (i.e. the majority), that you are a place that deserves our business.