From Publishers Weekly:
Many independent bookstore owners and managers across the country view the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s loosening of mask guidelines for vaccinated people as a failure of public policy, according to a recent informal survey by PW. Of the 31 booksellers we spoke with, 47% said the guidelines—which advise that vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks in most settings—are unclear and unhelpful, while another 33% said the announcement makes no difference for their bookstore’s operations. Only one in five respondents reported finding the guidelines useful. Two-thirds say they will continue to require masks in their stores.
For Nicole Sullivan at BookBar in Denver, the announcement was a frustrating disruption to her store’s careful planning. “We were unprepared for this, so we scrambled to come up with policies and messaging,” she said. BookBar will continue to require masks indoors, until “the U.S. vaccination rate is at 70% and vaccines have been approved for children under 12 years of age.” As of the third week of May, Colorado’s vaccination rate was just shy of 42%.
Other booksellers cited vaccine distribution disparities as a major factor in their decision to continue to require masks. Chris Abouzeid, co-owner of Belmont Books in Belmont, Mass., called the guidance “overly broad.” His store is in a county that was pummeled by the virus, and, he said, “the safety of all our employees and customers remains our top priority. We will continue to require masks at all times in the store until we can be sure that either everyone is vaccinated or the risk of infection has been reduced enough to no longer be a concern.”
Kenny Brechner, owner of Devaney, Doak, and Garrett Booksellers in Farmington, Maine, said he deeply resents the guidance. “I will be continuing to require masks because the safety of unvaccinated children and immunocompromised customers is a paramount concern,” he noted. “Losing the business of people who do not respect that is a cost I would rather pay than the alternative.”
Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly
As background, PG and Mrs. PG were vaccinated for COVID at the first opportunity. They have also abided by government mask mandates and retail establishment mask signs every place they have gone.
That said, in the PGs’ local environs, government guidance has made masks optional in a great many (but not all) public places and PG and Mrs. PG have enjoyed going out and about without masks. By unscientific recent observations of the numbers of people in various commercial establishments, it appears to PG that a lot of other people enjoy going into public places without masks.
If PG was thinking about going into a local bookstore and saw a sign that required him to wear a mask, there’s a good chance he would choose to go somewhere else.
PG thinks that retailers are foolish to require prospective customers to wear masks when those who understand a great deal more about virus dangers and are in a position to mandate or not mandate masks believe it is safe for retailers to operate without masked customers. By this, PG is not saying that any squeamish retailer or retail employee who wishes to wear a mask should not be free to do so.
For some, mask-wearing has seemingly evolved from a common-sense, simple and temporary public health practice into some sort of bizarre virtue-signaling behavior.
But PG could be wrong.