Here are two videos from the Market of Choice in Corvallis:
The woman in the video and her anti-mask friends are going to Oregon businesses and harassing workers while breathing on people who are simply trying to do their jobs. Essential workers who are now at greater risk of catching COVID for being around unmasked strangers. The original uploads of these videos filmed in the Market of Choice have been removed from the YouTube platform for violating YouTube’s Terms of Service.
They have a YouTube channel where they upload these interactions. The most recent one features them harassing workers in a Grocery Outlet in Springfield.
This isn’t unique to Oregon, as people nationwide have claimed they cannot be forced to wear masks. A woman in Dallas, Texas threw a tantrum and what looks like several nights’ dinner in one store. A man in California – the COVID hot spot of the U.S. – called a store worker a racial slur over this issue.
As of December of 2020, most states require people to wear masks when they are in public as a means of protecting themselves and others from COVID. In a study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Kansas following a county-by-county mask mandate, the 24 counties which required masks saw a decrease in coronavirus cases, while the 81 counties with no mandate saw increases.
But is it legal for a business to require you to wear a mask? Yes. It is.
Devin Stone is a D.C. trial lawyer with a side gig that puts him in front of a YouTube camera offering legal expertise. And apparently, “not everything that you don’t like violates your constitutional rights.”
The Tenth Amendment reads: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” This means that the federal government does not have unlimited rights. In a pandemic, states have the right to protect the populous from harm.
According to Stone, a state‘s right to ban smoking in public places is a good analogy to the mask mandate. Those who challenged the smoking ban claimed: “1. Smoking is a personal liberty protected by the Due Process Clause, and 2. The Equal Protection Clause extends special protection to smokers as a group.”
Due Process means the government must allow a person due process of the law before depriving them of life, liberty, or property. Equal Protections refers to denying any person within the jurisdiction of a state the protection of the government’s laws.
Courts denied these claims on the rational basis test. In this case, the rational basis for these laws was to allow the government to achieve a reasonable goal. The goal? To decrease the number of people dying from cigarette smoke – specifically from secondhand smoke.
Cigarettes Are Not COVID
Cigarette smoke is not an insidious virus that can be caught without warning.
Yet the mask mandates seem aligned with this same idea. The rational idea that our governing bodies want people in America to not become sick with COVID, to not inundate our hospitals beyond their capacity to care for patients, to not make others sick, and to keep people alive.
So, what if people sue? Suing a business would probably not get a person anywhere, because the businesses in the above videos are following state laws. Market of Choice is doing as Gov. Brown says.
To see what else Stone has to say about the mask mandates, see his video on YouTube.
The Advocate strongly supports the wearing of masks in public places, social distancing, and staying alive.
We contacted Market of Choice about this incident. They did not respond prior to press time.
By Sally K Lehman