TO THE EDITOR:
On Wednesday my husband and I visited your beautiful, quaint city. We took a few days off our busy schedules to rest and relax. We try to come to the Crystal Coast at least once a year. We had a delightful meal outside along the waterfront marina.
After our meal we were planning to go shopping (early holiday gift buying) for a few hours along Front Street. We started at the shop with the kites and windsocks. We got to the door and was very disappointed that you and five other individuals (Town Commissioners) decided what was best for not only my husband and I, but for small business owners. “Town Ordinance - Mask Required"
We totally understand that the COVID 19 virus and the variant are real and can be very serious for individuals. In fact, I decided to be vaccinated. What was concerning is that 6 elected officials determined what is “best” for everyone, in the guise of “protecting me and others.” Trust me, I am an adult and can make that decision for myself. In America, we trust adults to make decisions for themselves, even if we disagree and some make poor decisions.
Freedom is a messy concept, but a very important concept that my family died to protect. I have no problem with someone who believes wearing a mask is best. I also have no problem with a store owner making that decision. I have grave concerns when the government tells me I must wear a mask when there is “science/data” on both sides of this issue. It may seem like you are protecting me, but I believe you are simply overreaching into my freedom.
There is data showing the virus will spread with or without a mask mandate. I wish I had confidence that everyone is following the science, but that is simply NOT true. The bridge between Morehead City and Beaufort does not stop the virus no more than cheap masks.
The good news is less people are dying. The virus is a very bad flu and is going to probably be around for a long time. Will you continue to mandate political restrictions, simply because you can? If any gov’t office should have encouraged the mask wearing, it should have been a sign saying: Our County Health Department warns you, mask wearing is encouraged.”
A warning is acceptable- again, I am an adult and fully able to make a decision. Those who feel uncomfortable are not forced to enter the store. Again, if the store owner wants that restriction (like wearing shirt & shoes) that is their business, not yours.
Bottom line, my husband and I got back in our car, drove over the bridge and spent our money in Morehead City. I hated this for your local businesses and felt sorry they had to respond to elected officials that possibly never owned a small business.
I do not vote for any of you but wanted you to know of a legitimate situation that hurt the economy of your town. I am sure there are others who have done the same, but just did not tell you.
Be sure your oversight is not overstepping your authority of “protecting” free people. I have also been an elected official; I encourage you to always lean into freedom. Free people are empowered!