FINCASTLE – Readers who expressed an opinion on Gov. Ralph Northam’s new COVID-19 guidelines in November were varied. The majority of the 11 people who shared their thoughts were against it, while the remaining were in favor, citing health reasons.
A couple who responded to the question: “Gov. Northam announced new COVID-19 rules. He announced limitations on public and private gatherings, an expanded mask mandate, strengthened enforcement and an alcohol curfew. Given that COVID-19 has increased significantly in this area, do you agree or disagree with his decision?” As of Monday morning, Botetourt County had 778 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the Virginia Department of Health.
Jim Kessler wrote that school districts, employers and others should have a say in what happens based on cases increasing or decreasing. He feels “like the governor is pulling the strings and we are being used as puppets.”
Facebook reader Travis Bayne views the new guidelines as taking away his freedom. He contends the government is “using a respiratory infection as a way to control what we do at certain times in our lives …”
Several people complained that the masks make them uncomfortable, but are wearing them.
Kessler wrote he can “hardly” breath when wearing one, but still does at work when needed and in public places.
Marylou King also wears a mask in public, but personally cannot stand wearing one. Additionally, she wrote it’s hard to read people with half their face covered. “I have survived my whole life by looking at people’s expressions to know whether to run or stay put,” she wrote. “I cannot survive without seeing people’s expressions.
She continues that she’s curtailed shopping “because I cannot handle people in masks.”
Kevin Gordon wrote he struggles catching his breath when walking up steps wearing a mask. “I think if people do the right hygiene techniques and stay six feetpart or whatever it wouldn’t be so bad,” he wrote, ending with “I think it’s hurting more than helping.”
“Disagree,” wrote Laura Beth, with half a dozen exclamation marks following her one-word answer.
Jackie Lam Bocook wrote she wears a mask when required, but as for private gatherings in a personal home then it’s up to the family to make that decision.
For those who agree, it’s a safety issue. “I am careful where I go and I wear a mask,” wrote Cathy Bailey Moniot, who wrote she has “COVID fatigue” like so many others.
Sandra Scull replied by simply putting a person in a mask emoji as a comment.
Another person against the new guidelines is Scoutt Fridley, who asked the question: “What does alcohol have to do with COVID-19? Absolutely nothing!”
A Facebook reader from England, Robyn Allwright, wrote not so fast there Mr. Fridley. The island nation has closed restaurants and pubs because people cannot or will not maintain 2 meters (slightly more than 6.5 feet) apart after they’ve “had a few.”