We’ve entered a strange new era, to say the least.
Plexiglass dividers are popping up in front of every cash register, whether at the gas station or the department store.
Yesterday, I smiled all the way through Wal-Mart. I’m not normally in a bubbly mood when I know I’m about to drop $200 on nothing much. But, I was having one of those zippety-doo-dah days and I was ready to pass out happy greetings. About five smiles later, my natural buzz wore off because no one smiled back. At least not that I could see because everyone is walking through the store in their Haz-mat suits giving air-fist-bumps instead of handshakes.
For me, this world is a bummer. And according to the CDC, I’m one of those “fragile” people because I have polycythemia vera and diabetes. Still, I just want to go back to the world where I can tell if I’m getting a mean-mug or a devilish grin.
I’ve only worn one of those dreaded masks twice. Once at the pharmacy because they demanded it. The other time was when I visited my dad at the hospital after surgery. That time didn’t bug me, because I carry lots of kid germs wherever I go.
However, the craziness still gets under my skin. This isn’t the first time we’ve been attacked by some strange virus. But I’ve never had to sign a release stating that I understand we’re in the middle of a pandemic just to take my kids to the dentist. But that’s exactly what I encountered at our check-up last week.
I’m ready for the madness to end. And it looks like some of my neighbors are feeling the same way!
Welcome to Texas
I live about forty miles from Elgin, Texas, in a town half the size. Thus, we have similar cov-19 stats and mandates. Recently, the county decided masks were no longer mandatory (which they never should have been). After 64 days of quarantine, Kevin Smith, owner of the Liberty Tree Tavern set out to disinfect his establishment and remove stools to accommodate the lower capacity order.
That’s when he decided enough is enough.
According to the Washington Post:
“Sorry, no mask allowed,” read the poster taped to the front door of his bar Friday. “Please bare with us thru the ridiculous fearful times.”
As statewide coronavirus orders are easing, many stores and restaurants nationwide have taken the opposite route: They have made face coverings a requirement, kicking out those who fail to comply and even going to court to enforce their directives.
Yet in the emergent culture war over masks, a handful of businesses— the Liberty Tree Tavern among them — are fashioning themselves as fortresses for the resistance.
“If we’re only allowed to be at 25 percent capacity, I want them to be the 25 percent of people that aren’t p—–, that aren’t sheep,” Smith told The Washington Post. “Being scared all the time isn’t good for your health. It suppresses your immune system.”
Officials Warn Masks are Essential
Smith understands what officials think he should do. He just doesn’t give a rat’s ass.
For years, he has run his 60-seat bar, which occupies a converted alleyway on Elgin’s main drag, just as he pleases. Smoking is permitted during karaoke nights and performances by local talent, and beers are served in black-and-white koozies that say, “Come and drink it,” playing off the Texan battle flag.
A two-month shutdown from Texas officials had forced him to cancel a benefit concert for veterans and close down during the busy rush of customers that fly in to nearby Austin for South by Southwest. For three weeks, a Bastrop County rule required him to wear a face mask in public or face up to 180 days in jail.
“Why are we having to do this?” he asked. “We’re not here to live in fear.”
Listen to Logic
While leftists are triggered by Smith’s stance, he employs a great deal of logic in his arguments. First of all, bartenders need to see a person’s entire face to properly check ID. Second, those who are symptomatic shouldn’t be out and about. And third, it’s hard to chug a beer with a bandana over your face.
Furthermore, Elgin is a town of nearly 10k people. So far, there are 53 cases of coronavirus. Of those 53 cases, only one resulted in a death. If you do the math, Elgin’s population saw 0.53% of its citizens infected and of that 0.53% of infections, 1.89% died. And if you multiply those figures, the mortality rate ends up at 0.0001%. That’s a far cry from the panic being drilled into us daily.
But even if the numbers weren’t on our side, Smith is right. He says: “You should have a choice of what you want to do. If I get, I get it. I’ll deal with that. You can’t live forever.”
Touché Mr. Smith. I think I’ll drive over to the Liberty Tree Tavern and order whatever’s on draft. But not before I stop at the bank… where a mask and gloves are now considered appropriate attire.