It’s national news now. Staten Islanders don’t play.
If you’re planning to enter a grocery store without a mask, expect a ruckus. At least on Shaolin Island.
Wrong or right, a mob of shoppers ganged up on a woman who went unmasked at a local Shoprite this week.
The video was posted to an account of Christine Lynn on Facebook, on May 23, before 8 AM.
A second video of shoppers going ape on an unmasked shopper was posted to the McKnight’s Comedy Lounge YouTube channel earlier this week.
But masking up is now no longer considered the panacea that we were once told it was, and this is the word from trusted medical authorities. The same goes for social distancing and shutting down entire economies to stop the spread of any pathogen, no matter how virulent.
Either way, it’s the rule in New York State, an executive order enacted by Governor Cuomo, that you must mask up in public in any situation where it’s impossible to maintain a social distance of six feet from others. Most grocery stores fit that description.
Plus, most stores require that patrons wear a mask, anyway. Shoprite, specifically, requires wearing a mask for entry into the supermarket.
Governor Cuomo made this statement on Twitter, “I’ll keep saying it for as long as it’s necessary to say it: Wearing a mask is about RESPECT.” This does contrast sharply with the concept of wearing a face mask to prevent disease transmission.
I’ll keep saying it for as long as it’s necessary to say it: Wearing a mask is about RESPECT.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) May 22, 2020
Proactive shoppers will intervene on Staten Island, as these videos clearly demonstrate. No need to wait for security.
Still, it’s probably best to be civil. Any of these spats could escalate to violence, and that’s something that none of us wants. And even if not, this is just not necessary.
You could get security and let them handle it. It’s their job.
Or, you could speak without raising your voice or resorting to profanity or abusive language.
Already, Our Island has a reputation for having overly outspoken, rude residents, and the behavior in these videos just bolsters that notion. Let’s think about that for a second.
Perhaps there’s a more polite way of letting others know that they’re making you uncomfortable by choosing to forego the mask.
There’s no excuse for acting like this, even when someone is caught not wearing a mask in a situation that calls for it.
There is a better way to communicate the message. When the NYPD or Parks Police encounter people not exercising social distancing, they offer free masks and advise the group to break up.
Nerves may be frazzled. Staying at home for months on end can do that to a person. But don’t take it out on others — even if you see someone flouting the rules.
It’s easy for frustration to boil over to outrage, but control yourself. While it is against the rules to not wear a mask in a supermarket, at both the order of the governor and the store management, screaming at a mask-shunning offender may actually be a criminal offense, in violation of numerous statutes.
If you see something you don’t like, that does not automatically give you the right to violate the person’s rights or boundaries. Threats are still threats, and it’s really not your place to put yourself in this situation.
The person may have forgotten their mask in their car. They may have dropped it. The flimsy straps may have broken off only five minutes before you saw them. Their kid may have pulled it off and the mask landed on the ground. They may have athsma and had to take the mask off because they were having trouble breathing. Who knows.
Maybe they just don’t think COVID-19 is as big a threat as mainstream media portrays. That’s their right; it’s still a Free Country. Thoughtcrime is not yet a thing. Still, that doesn’t give anyone the right to break the rules.
You’re not the mask police, and we all need to stay sane and remember that after this is all over, we’re all going to be living in these same communities, and you may see that same person again in the future. Why start an ongoing war?
If it’s your intention to deliberately forego the mask and protest what you perceive as needless meddling and control of your personal life, maybe doing so while grocery shopping is not the best idea.
The comments on Christine Lynn’s video were telling:
Jessica Fiore: Girl you need to move up to Westchester lol
Christine Lynn: Jessica anywhere but here…no mask let’s all break the 6ft apart rule to unleash our demons on someone breaking another rule
Jessica Fiore: hugs my friend ❤
Genine Morales: That’s what I miss lol
Christine Lynn: Genine I cant wait to get away from this toxic dump – you’d have to kill someone I love for me to act like this
Genine Morales: Christine Lynn nah miss it