Please, Governor Scott, step up to the plate and just REQUIRE that Vermonters wear face masks when inside stores & public buildings, or outside among groups of people in public. You've been doing quite a good job of guiding the state through this new experience of trying to control a pandemic, but you are coming up short on this one issue. I understand that you want to avoid people getting annoyed with you, and that you prefer "education" rather than anything that smacks of "forcing" people to do something. But this is about what policies we need - being clear about the public health behavior that will make the most difference in controlling the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Even if you require the wearing of masks, some people will no doubt keep refusing to do it. But there will be no doubt to everyone else what they should be doing if they care about other Vermonters. The cloud of confusion is lifted.
I've noticed that in the last few weeks, people seem to be ready to act as if we are now in a "normal" situation, and far fewer people wear masks in stores and in public gatherings lately. Through your management and Vermonters' willingness to sacrifice to do what keeps everyone safe, Vermont has done well in this pandemic challenge . But we are far from through with the pandemic, and as it spikes all over the country now, we can expect to deal with rising cases again as we try to establish more of our "normal" activities and as people come in increasing numbers from other states. The "education" strategy to get us to wear masks doesn't seem to be doing a thing to stop this change of behavior.
We need to KEEP the habit of having the face mask with us & using it, because that habit will continue to help us do well. People need a reminder so that things won't start getting bad again. Requiring face masks in public situations is exactly what we need.