Speaking Up About Pandemic Mask Rules

Sheri Denkensohn-TrottQ. I’m having an issue with people not wearing masks. I’m a paraplegic, and I live in an urban community. I’d like to go out to my favorite local coffee shop and show my support while we’re all dealing with COVID-19, but some customers there don’t wear masks. I always wear one and, because of lung complications from when I was first injured, I’m mindful of whether others have face coverings. I went to buy coffee the other day and could see through the shop’s windows that the employees behind the coffee bar all had masks. The shop allows only a few customers at a time, to maintain appropriate distancing according to current rules, but some patrons weren’t wearing masks, and I didn’t see a sign requiring face coverings. I wanted to say something to the people without masks but worried they wouldn’t be receptive to my comments or could potentially respond with verbal aggression. Plus, I don’t like confrontation, so I went home without coffee. How can I go out to enjoy my favorite places without endangering my health? How do I help people understand that by not wearing masks, they put me at risk?

A. The decisions you make about what health precautions you should take regarding COVID-19 are very personal, and you should start by consulting your primary care doctor.