Patrick Ivers color

Patrick Ivers

Guest columnist

A mandate to wear facemasks without enforcement isn’t a mandate, just another plea for cooperation from the public. A vaccine for COVD-19, third leading cause of death in the U.S., won’t be available for several months. Those who disobey the mask “mandate” (Wyoming’s compliance lowest in the US at 60-65%), continue acting without regard for the health and safety of others, who believe going maskless is an expression of “freedom,” will not be penalized, according to county and city officials.

On Wyoming Public Radio: “Steve Morgan of the Laramie Police Department said law enforcement officials don’t plan rigorous enforcement, but they hope people will follow the directions. He said if a citizen has a complaint about a business not complying, they will contact health officials who will deal with the issue. ‘Our typical reaction would be to refer that to the public health department. They have some COVID advocates that are used to investigate such cases and use the examples as educational.’”

Steve Morgan’s being misinformed has misinformed the public. Dr Jean Allais, Albany County Health Officer, responded to my communication: “Please know that our primary goal in effecting the mask mandate is to protect the health and safety of our community and to slow transmission rates among members of the public in order to prevent our medical system from being overwhelmed. This goal will be best accomplished through education and adherence to safe practices, not through criminal prosecution and punitive measures.

“As the County Health Officer appointed to protect public health, I do not have the ability to make arrests or institute criminal prosecution. Individuals who do not comply with the county health ordinance do have the possibility of facing misdemeanor charges under Wyoming statute, however, that decision is ultimately up to county prosecutors. Given the current statewide budget shortages, resources throughout the state and in our county are thin.”

Do you know the phone number of a county prosecutor offhand? What makes anyone think that those who have been refusing to wear a mask in public and observe social distancing will now just because there’s a toothless mandate?

While people are fatigued from restrictions due to the disease, weary of wearing a mask in public, we must all demonstrate greater concern for all of the medical staff, first responders, and essential workers who are even more fatigued with the critical work they’re performing under duress and threat of infection. The difference here is between “inconveniences” for most people versus “existential threat” to those we count on to provide necessary and emergency services. Enforcing the mandate with rigor seems not too much to ask when the consequences are so dire.

As of this writing, the governors of 35 states have ordered mandatory wearing of face coverings, the most recent being the Republican Burgum of North Dakota. With the holidays approaching, if Wyomingites and denizens of Albany County neglect to take simple precautions, this will not be a season of joy but of immense sorrow.

Freedom doesn’t grant people a right to be inconsiderate, stupid, and dangerous around others. Those most irresponsible for not wearing facemasks, for not having common courtesy to protect others and themselves, are Republicans. Of this I have proof. During the primary election I was an election judge, one of four assigned to hand out ballots by party affiliation to the voters. I kept a tally of anyone who entered the polling place without a facemask, 12, all of whom were Republicans. I sent this information to Wyoming Secretary of State Edward Buchanan and County Clerk Jackie Gonzales. Secretaru Buchanan had earlier scoffed at my prediction and protest: “Since most people who refuse to wear a facemask are affiliated with one particular political party, entering a polling place without a facemask is making a political statement as much as wearing a T-shirt that expresses a political preference, which is not allowed.”

Scofflaws, you’ve been unmasked.

Patrick Ivers is a Laramie resident and occasional guest columnist, in addition to writing letters to the editor.

(3) comments

Registered Democrat in Albany County who has voted almost straight ticket D for the past 25 years...until this year, when I was driven to vote against my party because of attitudes like this. Don't forget that it was Democrats who made masks *their* issue this summer. I don't understand how "liberalism," which used to defend the right of people to live free of government restrictions - things like who we get to marry, what art and information we're allowed to consume, protecting the less fortunate, etc - turned into government doctors get to rule every aspect of your life, business, education, and culture, and will hold those facets of your life hostage, if you don't comply. Also, bullying and censorship are now liberal virtues, as long as it's directed at the other political party, or someone you assume is a member of that political party. It's disappointing (or I was naive) to realize that most of the population's principles are little more than virtue-signals, that can be dismissed at the whim of government officials. The power of fear.


Do you not recognize that we are in the midst of a pandemic in which a quarter of a million Americans have already died with 3 million having been infected & more to follow? The governors of 36 states, Republicans of South Dakota & Iowa most recently, have mandated wearing face coverings. This isn't real or serious to you? Do you wear a seat belt & obey speed limits when driving, or are those too restrictive, too? Maybe you also smoke cigarettes & drink to excess to feel your libertarian freedom. If the US were invaded by a foreign foe, would you be willing to make sacrifices to defeat that enemy or ignore the threat & continue on your merry way, regardless of the consequences? We ARE BEING INVADED by an invisible enemy. There are hundreds of thousands of casualties. So whose side are you on, with those of us trying to defeat the foe by taking precautions by wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands, avoiding crowds, or are you with the enemy, acting as a saboteur ready to catch the virus & spread it to others? We'll know by your putting on the mask or not.


Do you recognize that only 6% of those 1/4 million dead have died from covid? Do you recognize that a "case" IS NOT an infection and IS NOT contagious? Do you recognize that masks are worthless in stopping the spread? Do you recognize that EVERYWHERE there has been a mask mandate put in place, cases have gone UP not DOWN afterward? Do you recognize that no one in gov't (particularly Ms. Allais) has the authority to mandate anything that puts the public at risk if they submit and blindly obey?

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