ISSUE & DEBATE: AYE
Editor’s Note: Judith Greenburg, Bassett physician, submitted this letter in support of requiring mask-wearing in downtown Cooperstown. Local Law 7 was approved by the Village Board after a Monday, Aug. 10, public hearing.
By JUDITH GREENBERG • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
As I cannot safely attend the Cooperstown Village Board meeting on Aug. 10, I request that my concerns, listed below, be included in the record of the meeting.
I strongly support the proposed Village law to mandate mask-wearing on Main Street and contiguous blocks of Pioneer Street.
County COVID cases have increased as tourism has resumed. Travel is a main driver of COVID spread, according to epidemiologists cited by the New York Times. Rather than again curtailing tourism in the village, mitigating the negative effects of travel by requiring masks where social distancing cannot be maintained, appears reasonable.
Besides, it is already a state Department of Health regulation.
Enforcement is the key. We have a local police force, the sheriff’s department and state police available if there is threat of violence by mask refusers. Business owners can ask for local assistance and support, in place of having citations.
Reality check: The spread of COVID is most likely indoors, in close quarters, with people unmasked and talking, sneezing, coughing, etc. Businesses that tolerate these scenarios are endangering their personnel and family members; they also risk being listed as a possible exposure site.
Many people with COVID are asymptomatic but contagious, so that many who are infected do not feel sick; therefore everyone is potentially a vector and source of some other person’s potentially deadly illness.
I now avoid Main Street unless truly necessary. I have limited visits to The Farmers’ Market (a cause I strongly support) to Tuesdays, when there are less tourists in town. I will now only rarely order take-out food from Main Street restaurants.
Gene and I are high-risk seniors and will further avoid spending on Main Street if these protections are not provided.
In sum, pass this local law and protect the local citizens, who are here after Labor Day and can support or avoid businesses that do not promote public safety.