Mask mandates aren’t infringing on your rights

I’ve heard people make endless excuses over the past six months for why they can’t wear a mask. A popular one is “medical reasons” (though there are few medical conditions that prevent anyone from wearing a mask, and if someone does have a respiratory issue, they definitely shouldn’t be in public during a pandemic without any protection.) But my personal favorite is the claim that mask mandates are an infringement on our constitutional rights. In reality, a mask mandate would be no different than seat belt laws.

While I support individuals’ rights, mask mandates are put in place to protect the public. We obey laws like this every day with no debate. For example, we don’t take firearms in areas like schools and banks; we obey the speed limit and other traffic laws. Opposing these laws is selfish. Wearing a mask doesn’t necessarily protect you, more so the people around you. Even though you may not have knowingly been exposed to COVID-19, wearing a mask is an extra layer of insurance. If we eventually find out that masks don’t work, there’s no loss. On the other hand, if they do work, we could save lives.

There’s no harm in wearing a mask except maybe a little discomfort, but there could be severe repercussions for not wearing one. Even if wearing a mask isn’t the law, it is common courtesy for others. We should respect and value each other enough to enforce safety. We should want to protect not only our friends and family, but also strangers.