Continued mask mandate makes sense

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The easy thing to do for the Island boards of health would be to lift the indoor mask mandate. After all, cases are way down on the Vineyard, and the summer crowds are long gone.

But instead, the boards had a thoughtful conversation about the issue last Friday. They listened to two medical experts talk about the possibility of lifting the mask mandate, and then concluded, on their advice, that it was too soon.

The Island does check all the right boxes, it would seem. The number of infections is down. The summer crowds and workers are gone. Vaccination rates have been good, and now even 5- to 11-year-olds can start getting the vaccine.

Indeed, that’s all positive news.

However, we are headed into a busy time. Thanksgiving is a few weeks away, and then the holidays follow right after. There are a lot of events on the Island, including Christmas in Edgartown, that attract big crowds of visitors.

This is also a time of year when we’re all going to be indoors a lot more. Last week gave us the first taste of colder temperatures, and we even had the first frost of the season. It won’t be the last.

It’s best to continue to play it safe.

The mask mandates have been difficult for businesses, which are on the frontlines of enforcing them. While most customers comply, there are always a few who don’t, and sometimes they can be vocal about their disdain for the mandates, claiming that they are an affront to personal freedoms.

We have nearly two years of history to look at with COVID-19 to understand that this insidious disease has a way of coming back with variants that are even more contagious.

That’s why we support the forward thinking of the Island boards of health. Play it safe through the busy holidays, and then re-evaluate in January, when things will be much calmer on the Vineyard.

Masks have always been more about protecting others than ourselves. There are people among us who can’t get vaccinated — very young children and people with compromised immune systems. We can continue to do our part to keep them safe.

Wear a mask when you’re indoors in a public place. It’s the least you can do.

49 COMMENTS

    • As long as we have had public health concerns
      A long, long, long time.
      It sounds like how civilized humans behave.
      We have been a Socialist country ever since FDR signed the Social Security Act.
      Should Social Security be eliminated?

    • We are responsible for the health and welfare of others.
      That is why we have Police, Fire, and Ambulance.
      And some health care for those for with out the ability to pay.
      Pure evil Socialism.
      Socialism in every society is not a question of if but a question of how much.

  1. John– we have been in some way responsible for the health of others since we developed the capacity of empathy about 4 million years ago.
    And we are not alone in that.
    All primates will help a member of their community, whales, dogs, and even insects have been shown to display behavior designed to provide for the well being of their group.
    The only species on this planet that seems to have total disregard for the well being of others of their species is republicans who have bought into some kind of sick narrative that everyone is responsible for themselves.
    If you saw someone collapse on the street, would you pass them by, and think “that lazy person should get up and walk themselves to the hospital”?
    I don’t live in that sort of society, and I hope that you and your ilk will never defund ambulance services– they are ,after all, a truly socialistic concept.
    And just to reiterate, I do not want to defund the police..

    And you use the fascist buzz word / dog whistle ” socialism” here ?
    Give it a rest–
    If being concerned about the health of our fellow citizens is “socialism” I’m all in.

    I have seen the videos from 1939 in Germany of the “proper” citizens stepping over the bodies of those who starved to death on the streets of Berlin.
    Not in my town—

    • Don, “being concerned about the health of our fellow citizens” is not in fact “socialism”. That’s just plain compassion and even common sense. It should be common sense to let individuals and families take care of themselves. When they want help, they will ask. When they need to wear masks, they will do it.

      If you don’t respect their right to make these decisions themselves, that’s not compassion. That’s arrogance. If you take away their right to do so, that’s tyranny.

      If you are so concerned that there is a sizable enough portion of the community that would not wear masks, and you view that as a threat to your health, perhaps you are in the wrong community. But it seems you don’t feel threatened at all — because you live with the assumption that your power over them is greater than theirs over you. You’re right. Anti-maskers on MV are likely a minority, or maybe a silent, cowardly majority at best. Maybe it makes you feel good that they are intimidated by people like you, who now have the force of law on their side.

      • It is not about when they think they need to mask.
        It is about spreading their disease to others.
        760,000 Americans have died of Covid.
        If that number were 7,600,000 there would no question of a military enforced mask and vaccine mandate.
        With no masks or vaccine 7,600,000 is realistic number.
        With 7,600,000 dead we would have herd immunity, only the weak and unlucky would die.
        Would it be worth it just to skip the masks and vaccine?

    • “Not in my town!” Thanks Don. I always double mask. Anyone who doesn’t wear at least one shouldn’t live or visit here. We have a housing crisis. I.D. anyone without a mask in public. Alert the community, post their photo everywhere, put them on blast. I say 3 strikes and they should be asked to leave the Island, give their housing to someone in need who will actually obey a simple mask mandate. It’s not rocket science. This is a pandemic the likes of which we have never seen — stop whining about your freedoms and just follow the science. It’s the compassionate thing to do. We should really be making bigger decisions about who can live and visit here based on compliance. Why should taxpayer money help science deniers and anti maskers an anti vaxxers. There should be a line. If you want to be that way, fine, but we deserve the right to make you leave. We have a guest house, it just sits empty because it’s just too dangerous to rent it in these times. It pains me but at least we are privileged to not rely on the rent. But there are others who are reliant on collecting rent and they’re being forced to risk their health. There are struggling people here and we have a housing crisis on top of a pandemic but we have to end this pandemic before we can solve the housing crisis, it’s just too dangerous. If you want to live here, be compassionate, and you’ll get compassion in return. This is about everyone’s health. If that’s socialism — and I think you’re right, it is — then sign me up too!

  2. Nothing in this editorial, though touting the virtues of masks, supports the need for a mandate. It is simple enough, in a healthy community, to trust one another with voluntary measures. This mandate is a mark of shame on our Island, and the stigmatization of those who don’t support it is a red alert that community trust has broken down into dysfunction.

    • So much for MV Times approaching topics they personally disagree with in a bi partisan/ diverse manner and doing fair editorials on opposing views for others to consider and read different facts and viewpoints, , not just on ones they support and want to influence their partisan views onto readers. Too bad, selective journalism is untrustworthy journalism and our community deserves fair reporting, not biased reporting. When it comes to politics and other divisive topics like this, journalists should challenge all views, and not give ‘favored’ views special treatment.

      • The MV Times, like Fox News, is privately owned.
        They publish what they want.
        If you don’t like it you are free to move on.
        Maybe you should start you own newspaper so you can publish your point of view.
        Fair and balanced is a point of view.
        Fox News can tell you all about it.

    • It is not about when they think they need to mask.
      It is about spreading their disease to others.
      760,000 Americans have died of Covid.
      If that number were 7,600,000 there would no question of a military enforced mask and vaccine mandate.
      With no masks or vaccine 7,600,000 is realistic number.
      With 7,600,000 dead we would have herd immunity, only the weak and unlucky would die.
      Would it be worth it just to skip the masks and vaccine?

  3. Socialism at its finest. Is this the freedom our Veterans have fought for? Disgraceful. I am an adult. I can make my own decisions. What ive noticed during my trips off island is that people are much happier. They actually feel like they live in America, the land of the FREE. What I also noticed is that some people wear masks, and some people do not. Nobody judges one or the other. This might be hard to fathom, but I see the masked and the unmasked interacting and enjoying each others company. Freedom is beautiful, maybe one day we will feel that again on the Island.

    • Socialism never a question if but of how much.
      The US has been a solid Socialist country ever since FDR signed the Social Security Act into law.
      Do you want tear down Social Security?
      How about Veteran Benefits. pure Socialism
      Work for us for a few years and we will take your health care forever.
      Everyone judges masks.
      Few verbalize.
      People who wear masks are not all bad.
      People who do not wear masks are not all bad.
      The Vineyard is fairly civilized.
      They socialize.
      if the Island had 4,000 dead from Covid would your sense of personal freedom change?

  4. Continued mask mandates DO NOT make sense, stop pushing the rhetoric!! This has nothing to do with having compassion for others, this is a mentality that is being shoved down our throats in the name of ‘protecting others’. How far will this go???

    MV is going down a very slippery slope with this ongoing overreach and telling others what to do and how to live and think.

    While other states, towns, communities are successfully lifting their mask mandates, we are living in a community that refuses to move on with life and feels their rhetoric and rules should apply to all. Meanwhile, those who want to wear a mask are not being told to stop wearing them so they should be just as respectful to those who choose NOT to wear a mask and stop telling others what to do!!! People do not need a mandate to be responsible for themselves and people are not responsible for everyone else’s decisions!!! I repeat, this kind of rhetoric to feel the need to manage and tell others what to do, how to live, that is socialism and tyranny!!

    There is no reason MV cannot lift that mask mandate like the rest of the country. Stop using upcoming holidays, winter, etc to gaslight this nonsense!!! Enough already!! We will not tolerate being forced to mask up indefinitely because that’s what a collective group on the island thinks we should do, yet watch the country lift theirs and move on.

    • Uh…yikes. It’s a piece of cloth on your face that irrefutably helps to decrease community illness (Covid and otherwise). I would hate to see how you react when you face real adversity in your life.

    • If there were a thousand dead Islanders, and visitors (there probably are) from Covid would masks make sense?
      At what death rate do masks make sense to you?
      After one of your loved ones dies from Covid?

  5. At a certain point it will be difficult to deny the reality that for a certain segment of the community, nothing will ever be good enough and safe enough for them and they will insist on masks until unrealistic benchmarks are met, which will be never. These people will claim moral superiority and wheel out to hypothetical victims at risk, i.e. pediatric cancer patients with compromised immune systems who we would be heartless not to protect, when in other places people are getting back to normal and the sky is not falling. See them shout out accusations like “anti-vaccine zealots, anti-mask lunatics, anti-science ignoramuses, etc.“, when in reality they are suffering from a pathological addiction to fear and paranoia which they try to inflict on everybody else. Very sad.

    • Agree 100% Alex. Well said!

      Thank you Andrew, it would be nice if more people started to speak up though, unfortunately many don’t need the aggravation of childish insults and obnoxious irrational debates. Push back is happening though and it’s long overdue because people are fed up with the insanity and MV has many voices of opposition and they will no longer be silenced. Bone thing I’ve learned quickly…. The so called ‘tolerant’ are not so tolerant in our community if you do not think and do as they do. They resort to snubbing, childish name calling, personal insults and label you as the problem. The intimidation and bullying that goes on here simply for having different views is disgusting.

      John…your opinion, you are entitled to it, if you feel that a piece of fabric is the end all be all, have at it. No one should be mandated/ forced to wear a mask at this point as a fully vaccinated individual if they do not want to and they have every right to oppose it whether you agree or not, like it or not.

    • Alex– tell us about the southern border, please.
      Tell us about all the dirty , infected “illegals” are coming across our “open” border with not only covid but AIDS. Tell us that they are not screened for any diseases.
      Tell us about how they are smuggling drugs and weapons and are engaged in human trafficking .
      Tell us about how many of them are criminals and rapist, here to murder our children or kidnap them into a life of sexual slavery.
      Tell us about “Sleepy Joe” and use some disgusting misogynistic term while you berate the vice president and her “squad” of evil socialist who are destroying our country.
      And tell us exactly what Critical Race Theory is, and how it is brainwashing our children to be sexually deviant cannibals..
      And after you tell us all about that, Alex, we can talk about who is suffering from a “pathological addiction to fear and paranoia which they try to inflict on everybody else.”

      • Don, with all due respect, if you honestly think each of these issues are non existent, a complete fabrication from the ‘radical right’ and not reality, you are either living under a rock or refuse to see or come to terms that our country is going in a seriously disastrous direction because of the incompetence of this administration whether you want to admit it or not.

        Here’s a question, why don’t you tell us how our country is better off today, especially under this administration, from the massive inflation we ALL are feeling, supply chain crisis, border crisis (why is it so wrong for them to follow the proper process like every one else??), yet we disregard our homeless vets here to cater to illegals…shameful, ridiculous excessive mandates, crime is at an all time high, serious drug traffickers and Covid and yes, other diseases, coming through our borders unchecked is completely out of control and coming to a neighborhood near you, defund the police (kinda comical, who are you gonna call in an emergency, a social worker?) using racism to fight back against racism (sounds hypocritical to me) , cancel culture (what are we offended with today? A pencil? Roads are now racists?? Give me a break) purposely dividing people, censoring people, even children by their color and race, even political views, making them feel badly, bashing parents for having a voice in what their children are being taught?

        You clearly see nothing wrong with any of this, you support a socialist government and I’m sure you’re not alone, I for one do not and I’m not alone either. I find all of this to be very disturbing and dangerous, we are the land of the free, home of the brave and for those who hate our country for what it stands for are free to live. You don’t erase history, you learn from it, and you certainly don’t punish people today for the actions of people from our past.

        • Tracy… it’s impossible to win an argument with this person…just refer to a great quote by Bill Murray to understand why. You, Alex, Andrew and others just keep on keeping them riled up!

          • Bill, totally get it, although I’m not in it to ‘win’ or ‘rile’ anyone up, I’m in it to voice an alternate view. I know that’s going against the grain here, but that’s ok, I know I’m not alone.

            Curious, what quote btw, love Bill Murray!

        • Tracy are you so naïve as to think that a world wide pandemic would be without any economic impact?
          No one is trading off Homeless Vets versus illegal immigrants.
          Donald Trump worked tirelessly for four years to house all of Vets.
          He even took the time to address them on Veteran’s Day to thank them for their service and and remind them how those horrible Democrats stole his election.
          His election, not the Vets. election.
          Are really I, me, me I speech.

        • Alex– I was on topic — I was replying to you statement about some people wanting to perpetuate fear and paranoia.
          Of course there are problems at the border. But the fear and paranoia on the right about it is truly pathological. Most of the fear is based on outright lies. I have posted here many times about the outright lies that millionaire right wing talk show host tell their millions of followers. They lie about the vaccine, they lie about the value of masks they lie about nearly everything. I won’t bore you with another rant.
          But spare me, please, the bull about how the left is suffering from a pathological addiction to fear and paranoia which they try to inflict on everybody else, while turning a blind eye to the right’s pathological addiction to fear and paranoia which they try to inflict on everybody else.

          • Don, I’d be happy to discuss irrationality on the right, of which there is plenty. For now I’m limiting my focus to excessive Covid precautions ginned up by people for whom fear and paranoia is running riot. For those of us who followed the rules, wore the masks, got the shots, and are now being told that we need to keep waiting for an all-clear signal that keeps getting pushed back, enough is finally enough. The risk of Covid in our community is negligible and we are tired of the fear-mongerers trying to convince us we are in mortal danger. We are not.

        • Alex– I am on record as being against the continuation of the mask mandate.
          I base my opinions on facts and numbers.
          I don’t just claim that someone I don’t agree with is an idiot, and leave it at that.
          I do the research– regardless of what Tracy says , 100 % of the refugees taken into custody by ice are tested for covid.
          She apparently thinks Merrick Garland was the attorney general in the summer of 2020.
          She might not believe that he is the attorney general now. I don’t know. But look at it from my point of view. How do you have a rational discussion with someone who will not accept facts, and disregards the opinions and resorts to name calling of anyone whom they disagree with?
          If someone claims they saw a family of 20 alligators in the tisbury pond, and refuses to believe that alligators are cold blooded reptiles, that live in fresh water what can I do ? I won’t call them a liar, but I will point out some biological facts to them.. And then they will call me a liberal idiot.
          Is that a rational debate ?
          is that how low we have come ?

          • Don, you are correct, I was incorrect about the previous riots and associating Garland with those specific ones. I have no problem admitting when I am wrong.

            The Democratic governors of those cities at the time of the riots where in control and clearly didn’t care watching their cities being trashed and destroyed, and refused calls for the National Guard to come in a restore order.

            Show us your facts on those 100% of illegals crossing our borders are being tested for Covid. The ones specifically that are ‘caught’ by ICE only? What about the many others that are not being caught? What about the thousands being flown and redistributed throughout our country ? How do you know they ALL are being screened??? Please don’t send mainstream media links either as factual proof. Worthless.

            Back to the riots, My overall point was, all of those cities where the riots were happening are lead by democratic governors that did NOTHING. Explain that. Those Governors had full control and let their cities be demolished and terrorized.

            NYC, BLM made clear threats of impending violence and bloodshed if NYC law enforcement does not comply to their demands, does that not fall in the category of domestic terrorism? Hello FBI/ Garland?

          • Don, I live in Florida where fresh and salt often combine and I see alligators from my boat all the time in salt water. They might not last long but I dont go in that water for fear inspite of their shortened lifespan will still attack me. Your narrative is always about exceptions to prove a point and usually people dont think that way. But I just did. Do you really think all illegals pass through ICE?

          • Andrew– I said all refugees that are “taken into custody” are tested. Of course, they are not tested by ice if they avoid apprehension. Please read my comments before you criticize them.
            But of course, there are very few “illegals” coming across the southern border now , because you know who built a great big “impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall”..”and nobody builds walls better than [him], believe me, and I build them very inexpensively.”
            And I sure am glad that Mexico paid for it, since we were busy fixing our crumbling infrastructure.

          • Tracy– thank you for admitting when you are wrong. There needs to be more of that here.
            I do have to say thought that it is little unsettling to read that you are here “to voice an “alternate” view”. You are of course entitled to that– but please,no “alternative facts”.
            So back to the riots– Over the course of 6 days/nights (Between may 27 th and June 2″ Minneapolis police arrested 604 people associated with the riots. (Dem mayor) . They caused about $500 million in damages. Two people died.
            The governor refused to activate the national guard.

            As of oct 28, 691 people have been arrested as a result of the Jan 6 riot. Over the course of one afternoon, they caused $130 million in damages. 5 people died. One was a murdered police officer. 14 people were arrested by capital police that day.
            The dem mayor of D.C put out an urgent call for the National guard of MD. to be activated. The republican gov of Maryland immediately mobilized the national guard, but could not send them across the border into D.C until they got authorization from you know who..
            It took them 17 hours to get there— long after the riot had subsided.

            In America, it doesn’t go over well when police or military personnel mow people down in the streets, whether they be protestors, rioters or insurrectionist.
            Even simply clearing non violent protestors with pepper spray and teargas from a square does not go over well.
            Especially when the timing is regrettably connected to an already planned event where the president of the U.S went to stand in front of a church and hold a bible upside down and backwards during a photo op.
            Sometimes it’s difficult to control large numbers of angry people.

  6. And if the Delta variant hits the Island, that should be a shoo in for quarantine. Forget the tourist dollars, rental income, and Falmouth will get its wish for less truck traffic.

  7. Bottom line, all other politics aside, ..Enough gaslighting with prolonging and ‘justifying’ mask mandates with the ‘holiday’ season and ‘indoor’ winter excuses!

    *Explain why other communities, towns, and states are doing just fine being mask free???? Please explain.

    *Explain how football and baseball games in large masses all across our country are doing just fine? Yet MV needs to remain masked up????

    MV….time to move on like other towns and states for that matter, people and businesses are done and for those who are not, wear a mask, no one is stopping you. Covid cases are becoming the common cold and flu yearly cases with similar if not less death rates at this point…yet we never had a mask mandate like this since the flu epidemic in 1918. Even then, they knew when things subsided, it was time to end the mask mandates. The hypocritical elites could not even follow their own mandates forever!!!!

    • Is Tracy Ramous your actual name? You’re a new person posting here (all are welcome when we follow the simple rules). You have posted more than a dozen comments in a little over one week, carrying on about masks, tyranny, the evil BOH. You whine about bullying. What’s weird, “Tracy”, is that there is no “Tracy Ramous” when you Google the name, except as having commented A LOT here at the Times in the last 10 days. You have zero online presence- Additionally, you have no social media accounts anywhere. It’s not unheard of that one not have a Facebook or Instagram or Twitter account, say, but there is always someplace, somewhere on the internet where a person’s name can be found. Maybe a graduation, a mention in a grandparent’s obit, a donation, voter or tax info, a special occasion, or membership in some organization somewhere. Something. But not in your case. Why is that? Given your penchant for frequent whining about masks and immigrants and elites here at the Times forum in the last 10 days, it’s most unusual that the posting bug never hit you until 10 days ago, out of the blue and like gang busters.

      I’d suggest you read or reread Anne Frank’s diaries before you next get on these pages with your fake name to whine about a mask mandate that was extended a bit longer than you’d like.
      There really are more important issues to have a fit over than covering your germs with a cloth.

      What on earth would you do if if you had to sacrifice something big for the good of all?

      We have 5 year olds getting vaccinated and wearing masks. And then we have Tracy Ramous who can’t even use a real name to whine on here.

      • Why does it matter Jackie if you dont know who Tracy is? She or he makes perfect sense so far to some of us and that is all that matters. You now resort to chasing a ”ghost”. Maybe Tracy is me from another IP address.

      • Jacqueline, The fact you admit in detail that you stalk people is extremely disturbing and creepy on all levels. I don’t know who you are, I don’t care, and it’s none of my business, just like it’s none of your business who I am. I certainly don’t go out of my way looking you up, stalking you and looking up your personal information or anyone else’s for that matter.

        Everyone is entitled to FREE SPEECH and now I see why people would use ‘fake’ names to communicate, it’s because of people like you who openly stalk, intimidate and bully them personally for having views that do not align with yours.

    • Tracy, bottom line 413 people have died of Covid in MA, in the last month.
      Bottom line, it is likely that 10% of those people have been to island or at least close to someone who has.
      Covid ain’t over.
      The fat, indeterminate sex, person has yet to sing.

  8. The mask mandates make as much sense as the the mandate that you can’t drive with a blood alcohol over .08.
    This should be an individual decision, not something mandated by the state
    I know for a fact that I am better driver at .16 than am at .08…..

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