THE ORIGIN of the phrase “No shirt, no shoes, no service” is likely a dubious response to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but it has become separated from its discriminatory purpose. This phrase can now be pressed into service during the COVID 19 crisis with a modest change: Add a requirement for a mask.

The most powerful response to the spread of COVID 19 is to wear a simple facial covering or a mask. The best way to enforce the wearing of masks is to require businesses that open during the crisis to refuse to serve members of the public who do not wear a mask. As Gov. Chris Sununu has chosen to open our malls, with hordes of Massachusetts shoppers coming from areas of concentrated contagion, we need to be even more careful to limit the spread of the virus. It is the cost of doing business. No shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service.

I recently hosted a Zoom town hall with public health experts Nora Traviss, PhD., an environmental health professor at Keene State College, and Richard DiPentima, former New Hampshire chief of communicable diseases. They shared that we can shut down the virus if four out of five people wear masks. This works because a mask protects others from the tiny droplets each of us emit when we cough, sneeze or even laugh. As governor, I would ask businesses to join us in enforcing this basic public health requirement.

Many Granite Staters have shared fearful accounts of witnessing unmasked employees and customers when they are shopping for necessities. A University of Washington model just increased its projections for New Hampshire COVID deaths. Seven states have now required masks for customers and workers in businesses, including Maryland, which is led by Republican Governor Larry Hogan. This isn’t a partisan issue. Localities in red, blue, and purple states alike are increasingly requiring customers to wear masks. As governor, I would not hesitate to require that masks be worn by businesses that wish to open.

Retail workers are being asked to endanger their lives so that shopping malls can reopen. I don’t agree with this decision, but the least we can do is make the retail stores as safe as possible. It is also the state’s responsibility to make masks freely available at the point of entry to our stores. If customers forget their masks, we should help them. If they refuse to wear a mask, they should be refused entry. While we’re at it, we should implement flexible scheduling in all of our workplaces to improve social distancing.

Finally, it is time for the governor to speak out against the “ReOpen NH” rallies. While responsible citizens are social distancing and wearing masks, these protestors--some of whom are reportedly paid--flout all community norms. How would these protesters have reacted when asked to plant liberty gardens for the war effort? Would these sunshine patriots have slunk away from their responsibilities in wartime England when asked to darken their windows during air raids? The ReOpen protesters are not patriots at all. Patriots don’t needlessly endanger their neighbors. They fight to protect them. It is long past time our elected leaders publicly proclaimed this simple truth.

It would be a great shame to suffer a single preventable death for failure to wear a mask or for failure to call out protesters who needlessly endanger us all. Do the right thing. Save lives.

Andru Volinsky is an executive councilor representing District 2 and a candidate for governor.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

MAY IS Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month — a time to reflect upon and engage with the unique problems these ailments bring to everyday life. From the general misery of congestion to the terrifying reality of shortness of breath, thousands of Americans throughout New Hampshire struggle to co…

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

AS New Hampshire and her neighboring states begin to address the process of reopening retail, restaurants, state offices and business of all kinds, the details of how to do so in a manner that preserves our economy and our personal health is causing significant consternation for many. The id…

THESE last two months have been unlike any in my lifetime. It’s humbling to be reminded how, in the 21st century, there is still little we control and how we are not as all-knowing as we think. Pandemics, it turns out, are great equalizers. No one is immune from the sadness, pain and loss th…

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

A SCHOOL BUS driver, shoe store worker, car salesperson, factory worker, restaurant server, landscaper, dental assistant, online college instructor, dog breeder, hairdresser, hospital administrator, state employee, auto mechanic, construction foreman, child care teacher, janitor, cook, nanny…

NEW HAMPSHIRE’s stay-at-home order was issued March 16th. More than two months later we continue to face serious restrictions that limit our ability to earn a living, our freedom of assembly, and right to worship as we see fit. The continuation of this state of emergency not only inflicts ha…

Friday, May 22, 2020

ON MAY 18, the New Hampshire Union Leader published an oped “Sex work is not work” by Jasmine Grace, founder of Jasmine Grace Outreach, one of many organizations raising awareness about human trafficking by conflating it with adult consensual prostitution.

Thursday, May 21, 2020
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Tuesday, May 19, 2020

GRANITE STATERS believe in liberty — it’s even enshrined in our state motto. A core tenant of liberty is the right to privacy. It is not a coincidence that New Hampshire is a national leader on privacy rights. The right to live, work, and go about one’s business without governmental intrusio…

THE ORIGIN of the phrase “No shirt, no shoes, no service” is likely a dubious response to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but it has become separated from its discriminatory purpose. This phrase can now be pressed into service during the COVID 19 crisis with a modest change: Add a …

Monday, May 18, 2020

I’VE ALWAYS had a negative impression of superstores: cold, impersonal, dull. Everywhere I’ve lived, (San Francisco, London, Seattle, now New York City) I’ve mostly shopped local and tried to support small businesses. Overall, I’ve led a very sheltered, urban retail life.

IF WE focus only on what social media tells us, we are to believe that crime is uncontrollable and overly violent right now. Though crime rates are actually dropping, one thing that social media does have correct is their coverage of rape and sexual assault, two things that have been increasing.

ON MAY 7, the New Hampshire Union Leader published a Reuters article on its back page with the catchy title “Streetwalkers to Sweet Talkers” outlining the dilemma Chile’s prostitutes face under Covid-19 now that they cannot engage in the “intimate” aspect of their trade.