Mask on

As numbers continue to grow for COVID-19 cases in North Dakota, now is the time to take action and get people to start wearing masks.

Currently, cases of COVID-19 have surged throughout the state of North Dakota. Daily cases peaked at over 1,400 in October, which, at the time, was a record high. As the daily amount continues to grow at an alarming rate, the government should consider enforcing a state-wide mask mandate to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 

When quarantine initially started, there was skepticism whether masks were actually effective in protecting oneself from COVID-19. However, since then it can now be confirmed that masks can reduce transmission of the coronavirus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, masks “slow the spread of COVID-19 because they help keep people who are infected from spreading respiratory droplets to others when they cough, sneeze or talk”. 

Throughout quarantine this year, most of the U.S. population has adapted to a different lifestyle that is better accustomed to living during a global pandemic. Yet even though masks are known to be very helpful at limiting the transfer of the virus, there are many places that do not require a mask to be worn at all times in public. Odds are everyone has at least worn a mask sometime this year, so the change to enforce people to wear it all the time around other people would not be too drastic.    

Most businesses already have in place some form of a precautionary guideline for COVID-19. As businesses continue to garner more traffic within their stores, the enforcements of masks would create a more safe environment. Especially with holiday shopping just around the corner, which is one of the busiest times of the year for retailers, there will not be a better time than now (to enact a mask mandate). 

Because more people would be able to go to stores with a mask mandate in place, Bismarck could see a rise in the economy. The number of people visiting places such as the downtown Bismarck area would more than likely be greater if masks were worn by everyone. This would be even more vital for small businesses who have been struggling all year with quarantine hurting sales. 

However, there should be some factors taken into consideration about the mandate. It is understandable that the mask mandate would make it harder for people with health conditions to breathe, and they should be exempt from being forced to wear a mask. However, those who can not wear a mask should still abide by social distancing rules by staying 6 feet apart. 

Multiple options are possible for a mandatory mask policy to be enforced, although the way that it would be carried out would be highly debatable and more than likely come with trial and error. A system with fines after multiple violations is one prominent example of a way that a mandate could be carried out. 

2020 has been a year filled with changes to the average daily routine. Guidelines and changes are created with everyone’s safety and well being in mind. Cases continue to peak seemingly every month, and wearing masks is a relatively small step that has a big impact on creating a better, safer world.