Letter to the editor: Mask mandate not burdensome

I urge the selectboard of Middlebury to reconsider its decision not to impose a mask mandate for public indoor spaces in Middlebury. This is not a burdensome requirement. We all know that over the last few weeks there has been a surge of COVID cases in Vermont. We no longer have ten cases a day, nor even dozens of cases a day, but hundreds of cases a day. Rather than five or ten people in our hospitals, we now have as many as 90 people a day in our Vermont hospitals.

We learn every day how nationwide and in Vermont our nurses and doctors are exhausted by wave after wave of COVID. By being so cavalier about small mitigation measures such as masking in public, do we take our health care workers for granted? We also hear of patients who have any variety of healthcare needs who must delay care because the ICUs or other hospital spaces have so many COVID patients. Do we think our hospital staff are just inanimate objects? How long do we think our frontline healthcare workers can withstand this if we do not try to mitigate the spread of COVID in our state?

At the selectboard meeting last week, some argued that most people mask anyway, so we do not need a mandate. This is not true. Daily we see people in supermarkets, banks, the post office and other public spaces who do not wear masks.

Do we want to burden our healthcare providers to the point that they are so exhausted and overwhelmed that they simply leave their professions? A mask mandate for indoor public spaces in Middlebury is a simple step. It will protect everyone so that our health care services can be there for us when we need them.

Ellen Oxfeld


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