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Local Montanans Decide They’re Done Wearing Masks
I first noticed the pattern when picking up my cheese pizza at Little Caesar’s. Signs were everywhere: “Due to the Coronavirus, we are asking that you not wait in the lobby.” “Due to the governor’s order, masks are required for entry into this establishment.” With a little intake of breath, I realized I’d left my mask in the car. Then I saw that no one behind the counter was wearing a mask. Neither was the other customer, a man waiting casually in the lobby for his special order. The next time I got a hankering for pizza, I noticed the same thing. Montanans in our town are just finished with the mask mandate, and certain establishments and their clientele have tacitly agreed that going maskless is fine.
If I had a graph of mask compliance around here, it would show a steep, narrow curve. It’d start with about a third of locals in the stores wearing them, often older women and workers. Before the governor made the order, there were national guidelines, and probably some state and county recommendations, too, so we all had the feeling we were supposed to be wearing them. But the mask wearers stood out. And then the governor gave the order in July, some weeks after our re-opening, enforced through the businesses. Everyone was masked, and one of my friends told a story about being ordered out of a coffee shop after protesting she had a health condition, and told never to return. My graph shoots up to about 98%.