Take COVID Prevention Seriously

Recently I shopped at Ralph’s in downtown Santa Barbara. There were no sanitizing wipes at the door to clean the grocery cart handle, several customers weren’t wearing masks, and one employee was restocking the shelves with his mask pulled down. The woman ahead of me in line wasn’t wearing a mask, but the clerk had a friendly chat with her and didn’t say anything to her about the mask mandate.

When I spoke to the manager, he said that he puts out wipes every morning but homeless people take them, and the store can’t order people to wear masks because they might have mental health issues and thus refuse to wear a mask; however, the woman ahead of me was nicely dressed, friendly to the clerk, and totally coherent, with no apparent mental health issues.

“Mask Required” signs on the door should be taken seriously, but they’re not.

Similarly, today at Costco some customers weren’t wearing masks, and employees were handing out free samples of food, so people remove their masks while they eat the samples. Free samples are delightful, but in the midst of a pandemic they’re a health threat.

It’s definitely no fun to wear a mask, but we’re not going to get the pandemic under control if we don’t take reasonable precautions and all do our part.


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