A recent viral video captures one shopper, who is not wearing a face mask, being shouted at, vilified, and asked to leave by a handful of grocery store customers in Staten Island, New York.
In the video a woman pushing a cart without a face mask is surrounded by people shouting “get the f*** outta here” and “get out”, as customers repeatedly point towards the door and she is pressured to leave. Newsweek has reached out to the person who posted the video on Twitter for comment.
The viral video is part of a wave of social shaming on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites, aimed at people not wearing face masks in public places. States that have required some form of mask wearing in public during the coronavirus pandemic include Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
Since April 17, New Yorker Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ordered residents to cover their faces in public when not practicing safe social distancing. Those on crowded sidewalks, public transport and in grocery stores are required to cover their mouths and noses.
These strict measures are in place to curb the spread of coronavirus, “Stopping the spread is everything,” said Cuomo during a briefing last month. “How can you not wear a mask when you’re going to come close to a person?”
New York became the epicenter of the worldwide coronavirus outbreak in March. To date, the state has reported more than 360,000 cases of COVID-19 and 29,000 deaths from the disease.
In a heartfelt statement on Friday, Republican North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum hoped his state could avoid ‘mask shaming.’ “I would really love to see in North Dakota that we could skip this thing that other parts of the nation are going though,” he said, “they’re trading a divide, either it’s ideological or political or something, around mask vs no-mask. This, I would say, is a senseless dividing line”.
Official bodies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) do recommend Americans wear face masks to limit transmission of coronavirus. Yet the mask-wearing requirement by some states has caused much confusion among residents. According to the International Center for Non-Profit Law, around 18 U.S. states have historic laws that prevent people from wearing face coverings. The organization claims these laws came about to stop groups like the Ku Klux Klan from using hoods to prevent them from being identified.
Some states have altered historic laws in the fight agains COVID-19, Governor of Georgia signed an executive order to suspend the law that prevents face covering if the person wearing the mask is doing so to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Anti-lockdown protests around the U.S. have popped up in criticism of new coronavirus legislation, arguing that many orders are in breach of the first amendment, which prevents the government from making laws hindering freedom of speech, peaceful protest, and the practice of religion.