Like almost everyone in the world, I’ve made adjustments to my daily life and routines because of the Covid pandemic. For the most part, I’m willing to do this. I switched from eating at restaurants a couple of times a week to supporting restaurants through takeout and (weather permitting) outdoor dining. I’m fine with carrying a mask with me and putting it on before I go into a store, business, train station, or bus. Working from home and the cancellation of most social events have actually been huge benefits for me.
But I am concerned by the recent trend of Covid restrictions becoming worse, not better. In November, for example, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker decided to require people to wear masks at all times when out in public (before, people were only required to wear masks when going inside stores or businesses). This week, the CDC implemented a law requiring everyone in the country to wear masks at all times while riding public transportation. This includes trains, buses, train and bus stations, airplanes, airports, taxis, Ubers, Lyfts, and ferries. And not just any kind of mask: the order specifies that people must wear a face covering that attaches to your head with ear loops or ties, making scarves, bandanas, and gaiters (as well as face shields) inadequate. Dr. Anthony Fauci and other experts are even recommending wearing two masks at once.
These new restrictions significantly affect my day-to-day life in negative ways. Baker’s rule effectively makes it illegal to eat or drink while out and about, which prevents me from (legally) drinking my coffee while walking back from my daily coffee run. In addition to the fact that the CDC’s implementation of a law completely defies the Constitution, flies in the face of states’ rights and separation of powers, and defeats the purpose of having three branches of government, the public transportation mask rule creates logistical difficulties as well. Since the cold weather arrived, a scarf has been my face covering of choice because it can easily be pulled up when I approach a store, business, or train station, but worn as a normal scarf when I am walking down the street by myself, illicitly drinking my coffee. The new rule requires me to take off my winter hat, secure a mask around my ears, and put my hat back on, all while walking towards the train station. Wearing two masks, as is increasingly being recommended, would be twice as much work to put on and take off and would make it twice as difficult to breathe.
To complain about such things might sound petty and silly, especially when compared with the suffering of those who have become seriously ill, and even passed away, from Covid. But they add up to significant quality of life issues and represent an encroachment by the government upon my right to use my own judgment about what precautions to take. I’m willing to follow rules if they are fair, reasonable, and make sense. But many Covid restrictions are none of these things. This is even more the case when the restrictions become increasingly strict, burdensome, and difficult to comply with. I don’t mind making adjustments, but what is not okay is when I make adjustments, become used to the new requirements, and then learn that the government added more requirements and I need to make more adjustments. The government should be appreciative of the efforts that people are making to reduce the spread of the virus, but instead, it is telling people that what they are doing is not good enough. Insatiable for control over people’s lives, it is demanding more and more and more.
The government and public health experts promised that vaccines would bring a return to “normal” life. I do not expect a return to crowded bars, concerts, and packed sports stadiums immediately, but with vaccines rolling out, the restrictions should logically be starting to lift, or at least be staying the same, as opposed to getting worse. The constantly changing restrictions are demoralizing, disturbing, and frustrating and harm the credibility of the government and so-called experts.