August 18, 2020

To Mask or Not to Mask at the Kosher Supermarket?

The debate of whether to wear a mask or not has made its way all the way to the checkout counter of a large kosher supermarket. One elegantly dressed woman wore a colorful cloth mask while the woman directly behind her (only about 2 feet back) wore a surgical mask on her wrist despite repeated announcements in English and Yiddish that wearing a mask was mandatory. “It’s over,” said the mask less woman, “it is no longer important to wear a mask.” “Absolutely not,” shouted the woman with the colorful cloth mask. “It’s like a match; it can ignite at any time and by the way, regardless of what you think, why don’t you care about how I feel and the other people in the store.”

The mask debate is raging in many kosher neighborhoods albeit that in some it is truly “over” as virtually no masks can be seen. The debate rages while retailers have gone to great lengths to post signs, make periodic announcements and even post people at the entrances to their stores. Gitel, a mother of 3 entered the store with a mask but soon after she put the mask in her purse. “I can’t shop with the mask on,” she argued. With no real enforcement, she shopped the store, with the mask remaining in her purse. “I had it and so did most of my family, “she said, lecturing me about herd immunity. Welcome to the kosher mask debate of 2020.

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