No Shirt. No Shoes. No Mask.

Across the country, governments and corporations alike have begun to agree: masks should be mandatory.


Lincoln Journal Star

A man wears a Nebraska Huskers mask while in public.

On July 24th, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts responded to the mask mandate proposed in Lincoln by the city mayor, Leirion Gaylor Baird. The mask mandate was first discussed a few days earlier, showing support from local officials and citizens in Lincoln and beyond, while also being criticized by some others. 

This mask mandate, as explained by Mayor Baird and Lancaster County health director Pat Lopez, would just be a new addition to the ever-popular business rule: No shirt, no shoes, no service. “Add no mask to that list right now,” Baird said. 

While this may sound a bit strict, the mayor has elaborated that there are numerous exceptions to who must wear a mask and when (such as, those going out to exercise or eat at a restaurant are not required to do so). 

However, Governor Ricketts believes that Mayor Baird is overstepping her authority in creating such a measure. He has stated that he believes it is wrong to “bring the heavy hand of the government to tell people what to do” in a situation like this. Ricketts has claimed that lawyers are reviewing the mask mandate to decide whether or not this falls under Mayor Baird’s purview. 

The mandate “seems to me overbearing,” said Ricketts during a press conference. “There isn’t really a data-driven reason for more restriction.” 

The mask mandate came just after the United States recorded a record 4 million cases of the coronavirus, claiming almost a quarter of cases globally. After many countries have seemed to be able to stanch the influx of cases, the United States is still reporting tens of thousands of new positive tests daily. 

While the new ordinance has seen its fair share of criticism, it has also seen a good bit of support. The Dean of the College of Public Health at the Medical Center in Omaha, Dr. Ali Khan, tweeted, “Kudos to @MayorLeirion @LNKhealth for science-based policy. Hopefully temper their cases. Now to extend to the state.” 

The Douglas County Board of Health hopes to follow Lincoln’s example after voting unanimously to impose a mask mandate on their own county. Dr. Adi Pour, the Douglas County Health Director, claims that this mandate could be in place as soon as August 3rd. This news has also received both its fair share of support and backlash from citizens and officials. 

While the number of local governments creating such mandates is growing, so is the number of corporations nationwide. Best Buy, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, and CVS are just a few businesses that have announced that masks will be required when shopping in their stores, joining the likes of Apple and Costco, who have been requiring facial coverings since May. 

“We know this is a simple step everyone can take for their safety and the safety of others in our facilities,” Walmart U.S. Chief Operating Officer Dacona Smith said. 

As the number of cases grows in the United States, governments, businesses, and citizens alike are looking for ways to protect themselves and their communities as well as they can. Until the spread of the coronavirus is slowed, there may be more stories like this in the future. 


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