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Speak up when masks are down

I quote my hero, the late John Lewis: “When you see something that is not right … you have to speak up. You have to say something.”

Some pedestrians in Aspen are still ignoring the mask mandate, which was installed to protect our health and local economy. With the Labor Day weekend before us, we are likely to see more naked faces endangering lives and imperiling the upcoming ski season.

Yes, the signage in downtown Aspen is woefully inadequate to emphasize the mandate and potential fines for violators. Yes, the police should periodically stroll the streets, inform, give warnings and, where appropriate, issue citations. While not all of us can tweak the signs or inspire the police to help save lives and businesses, there is something all of us can do. Namely, say something!

Whenever I see a maskless being, I politely say “mask, please” or I speak through kinesics: I gesture the act of lifting the cloth from the chin to above the bare proboscis. Have my entreaties been met with belligerence or violence? To the contrary. Most people reply “thank you” and oblige. Others simply don the mask after projecting a bovine stare. Only on one occasion did a defiant tourist inform me that the virus did not exist and that it was a Democrat hoax to get Donald Trump out of office. At that point, I recalled the discussion of “insane delusion” in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and knew that in this instance, no amount of “saying something” would make a difference.

Dr. Amy D. Ronner

Aspen and Coral Gables, Florida


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