‘Irresponsible’ actions put workers at risk

I recently spent about 15 minutes inside a Warren-area convenience store awaiting a sub to be made.

While there, approximately six customers entered the store without masks, despite the highly visible signs on the doors requiring them.

I asked the staff if that was common, thinking of how many maskless — and thus potentially infected and deadly — people that meant they were coming in contact with daily. They said it was common, and expressed frustration with the situation.

They said they are not allowed to say anything to maskless customers, and that when they previously provided paper notices to customers about masks, some would throw them back at them.

This is wrong for so many reasons, foremost that it puts front-line workers and the rest of us literally at risk for our lives from a minority of irresponsible and potentially deadly knuckleheads.

This has to stop if we want any hope of halting this virus, not to mention returning some measure of civility and responsibility to our society.

It’s time for the owners of these locations, grocery stores, restaurants and others to step up and keep their workers and responsible customers safe. If that means giant signs on the outside of your stores to warn people up-front they won’t be served, and empowering employees to verbally tell maskless customers they can’t serve them, then for God’s sake, do it!

If customers abuse or intimidate your staff, don’t stand for it! Encourage your people to call the cops and prosecute them! Let them know you support them, not the knuckleheads! If the larger stores need to hire security guards, then do it! Take back control of your businesses!

Critically, elected officials such as state Rep. Kathy Rapp, Sens. Scott Hutchinson and Joe Scarnati, and Congressman Glenn Thompson, must protect us by supporting mandatory mask laws and meaningful penalties. Failure to do so makes them personally culpable for illness and death among those front-line workers and others.

If we pull together on this, the knuckleheads will quickly get the message and wear masks if they want to participate in our society.

This isn’t a game. This isn’t a matter of opinion. This isn’t political.

This is deadly serious. One thousand Americans are dying every freaking day! It’s way past time for business owners, and our elected officials, to take responsibility and do their jobs to keep us safe.

Steve Bishop is a Pittsfield, Pa., resident.


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