Retailers must follow states on masks. Plus: Stimulus skeptics growing? Harry & Meghan.

By Gary Abernathy

As states end mask orders, retailers must do the same

As USA Today notes, so far over the past month four states have rolled back mask mandates, although some local governments within those states still require or encourage mask wearing. On Tuesday, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced his state was following on the heels of Texas in ending the mask mandates and allowing businesses to open at will.

“We are getting out of the business of telling people what they can and cannot do,” Reeves said. That such a commonsense statement seems extraordinary is a sad commentary on the times in which we are living. Brilliant, and simple – if people feel safer wearing masks, wear them. If they prefer not to wear them, don’t wear them. It’s an exercise in adults being permitted to live and make choices like adults.

President Biden, who might wear his mask to bed at night, criticized governors who are rediscovering the concept of freedom. “The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything’s fine, take off your mask and forget it,” the president told reporters Wednesday. The only Neanderthal thinking is the kind exhibited by Biden, where adult Americans are treated like imbecile children by their leaders. For sure, everything is not fine. Covid-19 is real, and sometimes it’s deadly. Also deadly are lockdowns and mandates that crush people’s spirits and lead to other lethal outcomes. There is no perfect answer. What we can control is lifting the government mandates against a normal existence while giving Americans the information they need to make choices they believe are right for them and their families.

USA Today also reports that while Biden set a goal of vaccinating all Americans by the end of May, some experts say it could actually happen by mid-April. As noted here yesterday, governors in states that have ended mask mandates and lifted restrictions on businesses deserve applause. Ohio is not among those states, although Gov. Mike DeWine, for the past year vying for the crown of King of Mandates, has lessened some of the restrictions he imposed earlier. Lessening is not ending.

A big point now is how many retailers will continue to mandate masks, even in states where the government has dropped requirements for face coverings. In states where government mask mandates have mercifully ended, retailers must follow suit in order for the end of restrictions to really matter. And that will only happen when customers begin to demand it. Retailers should establish policies that follow the guidelines of their states – when states end mask mandates, retailers doing business in those states should make it their policy to do the same, and customers should make it known that’s what they expect.

Again, customers who choose to do so can continue to wear masks, with everyone respecting that choice. Customers who choose not to do so can have that choice respected too. When those things happen, welcome back, America.

Second thoughts on need for covid relief package?

The Washington Post reports that more skeptics are expressing their concerns about the size and scope of the nearly $2 trillion “covid relief” package being pushed by President Biden and Democrats in Congress. Whether there’s enough pressure to force Biden back to the negotiating table before congressional Democrats take the leap is the big question.

The realization seems to be sinking in that the economy is recovering on its own just fine without an artificial stimulus needed, especially one that will put Americans in debt for generations. Already, $4 trillion has been spent to counteract the overreaction of government leaders over the past year. The debt hole is deep enough. Let’s stop digging.

More fodder for another exciting TV season

In 2017, when her grandson, Prince Harry, became engaged to American actress Meghan Markle, Queen Elizabeth II used her Christmas address to welcome Markle into the family.

Today, the world – some of it, anyway – is being tantalized by teasers from an upcoming interview Harry and Meghan did with Oprah Winfrey, to be aired Sunday, in which Meghan is critical of the Royals. Meanwhile, Buckingham Palace is investigating allegations that Meghan bullied palace staff while she was still there.

Sounds like it’s time for a new season of “The Crown.”

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