Living in fear will be Aspen’s demise |

Living in fear will be Aspen’s demise

Aspen employees are living in fear due to the county and city requirements for masks.

My father-in-law, wife, 5-month-old daughter and I hiked Ajax in under two hours. Running the final 200 meters to the Sundeck, I entered the food line and chugged water as if it were an oasis. The manager berated me to wear a mask (even regulated airlines allow customers to consume food or beverage without a mask). There was not a person within 20 feet of my family, except the manager, who was 10 feet from me at this time.

He yelled, “I wasn’t kidding … put your mask on!” Offering more clarity, he shared: “I’m following county guidelines.”

I translate his message as: “I am afraid of the county closing my business, and that’s a problem because remaining open is critical to providing for me and my employees.”

The irony here is deafening. A mask is required to walk into a building, but not required while sitting still at a table. A clerk will handle a credit card or cash with a bare hand, but an individual must cover their nose and mouth. A hiker is prohibited to consume water indoors at 11,000 feet without a mask on because there is a greater likelihood of contracting COVID-19 than suffering from a heatstroke.

The “Public Health” plea to mask up is increasing fear. The “social distancing” recommendations isolate individuals causing them to self-regulate those emotions. Fear and isolation breeds a frozen human spirit, which is more lethal than any virus.

What will it feel like in a month or three months living with the current fear spread by this government? The “new normal” does not and will not discriminate; it will destroy Aspen, and there are no economic vaccines for dead local businesses.

James Hairston Jr.