With over 30 states having dropped their mask mandates, local businesses are being put in a tough predicament. The state no longer obligates people to wear masks, so it has become difficult for stores to continue requiring people to wear masks. When they know that there will be no significant consequences outside the four walls of the store, many are resistant to the idea of wearing a mask or any other form of PPE. Many business owners are wondering if it is worth keeping up the fight. So the question remains unclear, should businesses still require PPE?
Is PPE still necessary?
According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks to prevent themselves from getting sick. Many used this statement as a justification to completely stop wearing masks in every scenario. However, there was more to that statement. While the vaccine is compelling enough that you will not need to wear a mask to keep yourself safe, the vaccine does not prevent you from spreading the virus. You can carry the virus still if you have the vaccine and pass it on even if you aren’t actively sick. To protect those who cannot get vaccinated, such as those allergic to vaccine ingredients or have a highly compromised immune system, it is important to continue wearing a mask.
Can businesses require customers to wear a mask?
The short answer to this question is yes. It is entirely within a business owner’s rights to demand that their customers wear masks when in their establishment. State mandates only cover public, state-owned property. That is not what a business is. A company is a private establishment, and because of that, they are free to come up with their own rules as to whether or not PPE is required. Think of private businesses as you would a house. If I invite you over to my house, I have the right to ask for you to take your shoes off at the door. That is my decision because a home is private property. The same thing applies to businesses in the United States.
Unfortunately, while it is legally allowed, culture can sometimes prove to be a problem. There is an idea in the United States that we have the personal freedom to do whatever we like, even if that isn’t technically true. This has made it very difficult for some businesses to continue to enforce mask-wearing. They need customers to stay open, but if the customers refuse to put their masks on, the company may have to drop their mask mandate.
Masks or no masks?
While it may be safe for the fully vaccinated, it is not safe for those who are not. At this point in time, the number is over 50% of the population. To keep the vulnerable healthy, it is essential to continue to require masks in areas where social distancing is impossible, including many businesses.
Business owners have the legal right to demand that their business is a safe place for everyone who comes through its doors. Part of those safety measures is putting PPE regulations in place. Masks are proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19 from an infected person to a healthy one. As long as people are still dying from this virus, it is crucial to continue to require masks in enclosed areas, including businesses.