Letter to the Editor

Lack of required masks brings with it potential risks

I am outraged that the Board of Supervisors did not strongly back Dr. Quick and the edict to require masks at all times in public. As a result of last week’s decision by the new Health Officer who succumbed to the pressure of the Board, masks now are only “strongly recommended.” 

People in Orange County can now walk around in public and in business establishments without masks as if there were not a pandemic raging out there. And they can selfishly spread their germs around, oblivious to the health and safety of others. What does it take for us as a society to realize how dangerous these actions are? The week before last we had 1,179 new cases in Orange County, a weekly record in the course of the pandemic! Hospital loads have also increased by 34 percent.

There will be financial repercussions with this new ruling as well. Yesterday when I went to the grocery store where I normally shop because it was all set up for physical distancing and required masks, I asked if masks were still required and their response was “only strongly recommended.” I had spent at least a thousand dollars during the pandemic in that Newport Beach store. But knowing that Costa Mesa still required masks (the only city in Orange County to do so), I went down the street to do my shopping, spending $200.

For those people who are at “high risk,” it is imperative that they be in a “masked environment” in public. So I imagine that many people who live in Newport Beach are going to have to start shopping in Costa Mesa.

Imagine the loss of revenue for businesses in Newport Beach and the bad health conditions for the essential workers who are exposed to other peoples’ germs on a daily basis. The Board of Supervisors and our Council are putting these people at risk now that masks are only “strongly recommended.” 

Why does Newport Beach share in the culpability along with the Board of Supervisors? Because individual cities can pass laws that are stronger than the Board’s, but not weaker. So businesses and individuals should keep in mind that if there is a significant loss in revenue and if it is obvious that people are going elsewhere to shop, not to mention a significant increase in cases of COVID-19, that the Newport Beach Council can do something about it. 

I, for one, regrettably will not be doing business with any indoor environment that does not require masks and I urge others to do the same for their protection. And when you vote in November, remember that the current Board of Supervisors is at the very least, compromising your health by the decision that they have just made.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach