Mask It or Casket? How to Push Mask Wearing In Retail.

There needs to be a national campaign to support mask wearing. It needs to come from certain types of national organizations and be directed at corporations.

From Piotr Szyhalski’s Daily COVID-19 Reports  See more of this brilliant work here 

To make it work there needs to be movement on multiple fronts with support from people with various types of expertise and influence.
This needs to happen because of the massive failure at the national political level to protect lives during a pandemic.

One place to support mask wearing is at the retail level. This piece in the New York Times points out why:

Who’s Enforcing Mask Rules? Often Retail Workers, and They’re Getting Hurt

The risk of a violent reaction now hangs over jobs already fraught with health perils.
May 15th by

“Why aren’t you wearing the mask?” Jesse asked the customer on a recent day at a store in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. “I am not here to question what you believe in. These are the rules. I am just asking you kindly to wear the mask.”

The customer, Genevieve Peters, who was recording the entire exchange, refused. “We are in America here,” she said, “Land of the free.” Then she turned her camera on other shoppers, who were less than amused: “Look at all of these sheep that are here, all wearing this mask that is actually dangerous for them.”

Jesse, identified only by his first name in the video, telephoned the police, who did not arrive. Finally, when Ms. Peters left the store, others customers burst into applause.

I believe that to get all customers to wear masks in stores peoples with expertise and influence in the following areas need to help: Legal, insurance, financial, HR and PR.

I think the push needs to come from national organizations who have clout right now. I don’t know the specific names of the groups, just the categories. I’ve  listed them in what I think is the order of their current PR clout (which isn’t the same as their political, financial or actual clout.)

1) First responders (EMT, firefighters, police, sheriffs)
First responders are hot and respected right now. Their voices carry weight. Corporations know this. If I was representing a first responder group I would say, “Making ads praising us is great, now if you want to save our lives, push for your customers to wear masks.”

I’d leverage groups that have more men in them to show they support people wearing masks. Also to show they will be there to help with enforcement. 10,000 law enforcement groups can say, “We will enforce social distancing and mask Executive Orders.” But three sheriffs say they won’t enforce the orders, the media covers those three. This makes it look like there is more support for NOT wearing masks among law enforcement. Also, based on a recent study some men think wearing masks show weakness and that they won’t be impacted. Men need role models for mask wearing.

If Mr. Anti-Masker wants to explain why he’s not wearing a mask he can argue with two grizzled, mask-wearing EMTs.

EMTs: “You want honor us? Wear a mask. Mask it or Casket.”

Bangor Fire Department paramedics Brian Cochrane (right) Nick Chapman wear full face shields during a simulation of how they respond to EMS calls with positive or inconclusive cases of COVID19. Bangor, Maine, April 28, 2020 Linda Coan O’Kresik | BDN

A cop: “My Glock 22 won’t protect me from COVID-19, but my N95 mask will

A firefighter: “When I run into a fire, I wear protective gear. When you run into a store you should too.

All St. Louis firefighters like Cedric Ross, pictured here on April 15, are wearing masks while on calls to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. BILL GRENBLATT | UPI

2) Doctors, Nurses, Health Care Workers and Hospital Administrators
The representatives for doctors, nurses, health care workers will need to have the medical data, the legal details, and example policies to roll out to all stores. Hospital administrators might be a great group to help the corporations to explain all this info because the doctors, nurses and health care workers are busy. The corporations will also need help from:

3) Lawyers with experience in state & local law, executive orders and public policy
I’ve seen how anti-maskers are using weaknesses in federal and state policy to stop implementation of mask wearing nationwide. Corporations are going to need help to deal with the push back from a very small, but loud group that has the support of Trump and the backing from RW groups..

When I’ve worked with corporations to explain all the reasons they shouldn’t allow guns in their stores, they often said, “We follow all state and local laws.” This was an excuse to not have a policy that is stronger than weak state or local laws. The reality is that stories CAN have a stronger policy nationally than locally, but they don’t because they don’t want to have to argue with Joe “REOPEN USA NOW” Gunslinger, who they might think represents a majority of their customers.
And even if corporate knows Joe Reopen doesn’t represent a majority of customers, they worry an organization like KOCH or DeVos will tell customers to show up to protest. What always seemed strange to me is that store management would trust that people who are carrying guns will be careful–even with little or no proof. Yes, most are, but people do negligently discharge their weapons in stores multiple times every year. When it happens it can’t be ignored. People know instantly if there is an injury or death. The injured can be treated, the dead buried and responsibility assigned.

However, with COVID-19 healthy looking people could be discharging a deadly weapon virus thousands of times during each store visit. Staff and customers in the store might get sick and die over the course of the next 14 days. This risk can be mitigated or avoided by taking reasonable steps, like mask wearing and social distancing.

Give Companies Reasons and Excuses to Implement a Mask Policy

The current reality is that the vast MAJORITY of people support wearing masks in stores. But a handful of selfish loudmouths don’t. These people will scream at retail workers about “MY RIGHTS!”  They will also, with no proof, pontificate on the spread of COVID-19 as if they were Dr. Fauci.  The store manager does NOT want to tell the customer he is a moron endangering the lives of the workers and other customers. Managers still have, “The customers is always right” drilled into their heads. So here’s what store managers and employees need

Store mangers need a POLICY. Employees need a SIGN.

Local managers need simple reasons to shut down debates with anti-maskers. They can quote headquarter policies in political, legal and financial areas. They can blame the politicians, bean counters, the lawyers or the insurance people.

Sometimes the local manager needs an excuse to enforce an executive order. She needs a way to let herself off the hook for demanding the policy be enforced in a way where she won’t be blamed when talking to the customer and he won’t argue with her.

“Sorry Joe, corporate HQ rules say everyone has to wear a mask because of the state’s Executive Order. I don’t agree with everything the Governor says, but if we don’t he will pull our liquor license.”

If the store is in a state without a good Governor or state law are in flux because of stupid GOP lawsuits, the manager can use national chain rules:

“I hear ya, Ben, if it were up to me I’d let you in without a mask, but the top brass and the bean counters at HQ in New York say that ALL the stores have to follow these rules, even here in Georgia. We know it’s different here, but it’s their national policy and we have to follow it or they will shut us down. You understand, it’s out of my hands.

If the manager is in a story without a national HQ they can reference a threat from a powerful company outside their control:

“I’m sorry, Dan the insurance company won’t let us open unless everyone is wearing a mask, they told me we all have to do it. If we don’t we won’t be covered and I will be held liable if anyone gets sick. So you gotta wear a mask.”


I know from experience that there are people already doing the work behind the scenes to support mask wearing at the retail level. I’m writing this to encourage them. They are focusing on the health and safety of all the customers and staff first, which is good. But the media covers anti-maskers because it’s news and they need a “both sides’ story.


If you go to a store and see people not wearing masks what can you do? Help support the concept of wearing masks in stores. Call the company directly and find out their policy. If they don’t have one, give them one they can use. For example, Trader Joes. Customer Use of Face Coverings. Or work with your favorite activist group that has experience doing this kind pressure campaign with corporations on a national level.

If you don’t want to do that you can create memes, stickers, videos and social media to support mask wearing in stores.

I’m not an ad wizard, but watch this video and see how easily it could be changed into one supporting mask wearing.

[Fade in] Video of first responders wearing masks. They look at the camera and say,”If you care about me, (EMT), me, (Cop) me (Doctor) and me (Nurse) you will wear your mask when out in public and shopping here, (CVS,) here (Trader Joes) and here (Target).

We support masks in stores for everyone because, “We’re all in this together..” [fade out.]

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