• Last modified 554 days ago (July 15, 2020)


Masks: Preference for some, necessity for others

Staff writer

Whether to require face masks in public, which Harvey and Reno Counties this week began requiring, has been a divisive issue in Marion County, which overturned a state requirement for masks.

Doug Regnier, co-owner of Marion Auto Supply, doesn’t wear a mask but keeps boxes of disposable masks and bottles of hand sanitizer on his store’s counter.

“To me, it’s up to personal preference,” Regnier said.

But for Dani, who is immune-compromised and didn’t want her last name shared, not wearing a mask is too great a health risk.

“Everybody cleaning everything with the wipes, I’ve been doing that for 10 years,” she said. “It wasn’t much more for me to do than I’ve already done.”

It’s not that she needs a mask to protect herself. Masks don’t protect the wearer. They prevent the wearer from accidentally infecting someone else.

Dani understands that requiring young children, like her great-grandchildren, to wear masks might be difficult, but that increases the importance of teaching them about the issue.

They’re probably not going to want to keep it on and wear it all day or they’re going to forget,” she said. “We’re expecting too much of the little kids, but I don’t understand why, with all the money we’re supposed to have in this country, that we can’t educate these children.”

Dollar General has notices on its doors requiring customers to wear masks. Many heed the request, but enforcing it for those who don’t can be tricky, one employee said.

At County Seat Decorating Center, hand sanitizer is on the counter, and the owner and employees wear masks.

“Listening to medical people in my life who know what they’re talking about, I’m a fan of face masks,” owner Jeannie Wildin said.

If people don’t believe they should have to wear a mask, Wildin asked, what about wearing pants?

Wildin said she does not ask customers to put on masks, but she has masks available for customers to wear if they choose.

“Working with customers, we can maintain a six-foot distance,” Wildin said.

Maintaining six feet of distance at Marion Auto Supply is easy because a counter separates employees from customers, Regnier said.

He estimates that 80% of customers don’t wear masks inside the store.

On the other hand, the business door at Security 1st Title has a sign asking people to call in for entry. Employees all wear masks.

“It’s the least of my worries wearing a mask once in a while,” said Roger Hannaford, who runs the business. “It’s more of an inconvenience. I want everybody to stay safe.”

Marion assistant police chief Steve Janzen keeps a mask in his pocket at all times.

“Any time I am going to be within six feet of someone, I wear it,” Janzen said. “Most of us have one in our pocket all the time, and when we’re going to an indoor situation, we’re going to be wearing one.”

Janzen’s wife has worn a mask since June.

Marion resident Katherine Young prefers wearing masks but is aware many in the county don’t.

“I don’t have a problem with it, especially with the number of cases increasing in Marion County,” Katherine Young said. “I’m one of those people at risk because of my age.”

Hannaford considers masks a necessary evil, but one that will pass.

“I’ve got a Crown Royal mask,” Hannaford said. “I liked it better when it had in it what it had before. Now that’s gone, and I have a stinking mask.”

Last modified July 15, 2020