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OPINION: Mask mandates belong in 2020

This article expresses the views of its author(s), separate from those of this publication. Readers are encouraged to comment or submit a Letter to the Editor to share their opinions. To submit a Letter to the Editor, follow the instructions here

COVID mask mandates should never return. The constitutional question of mask mandates has never been entirely resolved. With the pandemic over and mask mandates largely gone, the question of their legality remains important.

I’m not a doctor or a lawyer, but I do know humans aren’t meant to breathe through a mask, much less for years on end. People are meant to see the faces of others they engage with in society. The effects of walling off this crucial piece of expression significantly impairs the normal interactions of humanity.

The legality of mask mandates remains questionable. What’s for certain is the government doesn’t have the constitutional right to mandate vaccines. In January of 2022, the Supreme Court blocked a federal vaccine mandate, declaring it unconstitutional.

Regulation of mask mandates was largely left in the hands of individual states. Some declared them constitutional while others unconstitutional. This system worked well by allowing states to base their mask policies on what best suited their own circumstances.

(Graphic created by Spinnaker. Mask cartoon courtesy of visual/Unsplash.)

With that said, the people living in states locked down deserved more of a say. These mandates directly affected everyone’s livelihoods and most had little control over those circumstances.

States that remained locked down into 2021 and 2022 should have given their citizens an opportunity to vote on whether to lift the mandates or not. Some people preferred to continue masking up after the mandates were over, but a majority of Americans left them behind the day they weren’t required. Living in a state where mask mandates persisted into 2022 sounds incredibly depressing. Life is far more enjoyable without them. 

It’s true that COVID mask mandates are returning. It’s also true that COVID cases are rising in the U.S. But it’s highly unlikely the world will shut its economy down anytime soon. 

These mandates are only found in highly selective areas across the country. Some of these places include Lionsgate Studios (CA) and Dillard University (LA). Not only are the mandates limited in scope, but the White House recently committed to not push further COVID lockdowns. 

As of now, mass mask mandates are not on the table. Still, this remains an important and unfortunate discussion to have in case of a similar situation down the road.

Masks inherently limit normal human interactions, but their sole purpose of stopping the spread of COVID has been called into question as well. 

A study published in Cochrane Library found that wearing or not wearing masks “probably makes little or no difference to the outcome of laboratory‐confirmed influenza/SARS‐CoV‐2.” All the more reason that mask mandates should not make a widespread comeback.

Thankfully, especially in Florida, we won’t have to worry about mask mandates forcing us to void natural human interaction anytime soon.


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About the Contributor
Jace Brown, Opinions Reporter
Jace Brown is an opinions reporter for Spinnaker.

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