• John-Michael Scurio

Editorial: This Is Not OK!

It saddens me that I feel compelled to write a blog-post like this but here goes. . .

Bartender Annalea and an angry Oklahoman. This Is Not OK!

On July 20, 2020, Asa Hutchinson, Governor of the State of Arkansas signed the following Executive Order indicating:

As everyone knows, Arkansas borders six neighboring States in our union: Missouri, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Mississippi.

Yet, we are far from United. Because State Leaders have been advised to individually act in accordance with Federal and CDC Guidelines, each State has done exactly that, and has treated the information as "guidelines" which leaves the power of choice in the hands of each State, and therefore the citizens of that State.


Four of our neighboring States, noted above in bold, do not have mask mandates.


Somehow, this compels residents in another State (like the man pictured above from OK) to visit a neighboring State, like Arkansas, and behave in a manner that follows the guidelines of OK.


Will someone tell this guy, "This Is Not OK!"


Furthermore, it is certainly not okay to mistreat anyone, service workers, like Annalea (pictured above) when she is a hard-working employee, simply doing her job, in a private establishment which has their "mask-wearing required" policy on the front door. This a private business.


Most often, this kind of resistant interaction with a customer happens at the time of the customer's arrival, because business workers will not allow entry into their establishment without a required mask, and rightly so.


Regardless, this man, from Oklahoma, felt it to be unconstitutional for her to require him to wear a mask. Unconstitutional?


In neighboring Texas, when the Governor there issued a mask mandate on July 2, 2020, Constitutional lawyer Dan Barr said, "that there is no basis within the constitution for overturning a mask mandate like the one passed on July 2, 2020 in Texas.

Outside of that, he just doesn't understand why people won't wear them. I mean, we wear clothes, don't we?


"When people say they have the right to not wear a mask, they may as well say they have a right to not to wear clothes," Barr said. We all know what would happen to a person if they made a choice not to wear clothes in public.


"This applies especially in the case of private businesses that require a mask, Barr said. Businesses do have the right to enforce their private business policy;" most certainly after the W.H.O. declared a worldwide pandemic, and many policy changes took place.


"It's strange when people say I have a constitutional right to not wear a mask while ignoring the rights of private property owners," Barr said. Here we have a classic double standard.


It is crazy to watch a moment like this happen, in a town like ours. It's a small-town snapshot that illustrates just how divided our Country really is and how we are not all in this together.


My heart goes out to Annalea and the many other service workers, retail workers, other public service workers and business owners that are continually mistreated by visitors here and everywhere.


With the power of choice, it stuns me that people do not choose to be civil and respectful to others about their personal position on something.


5+5 = 10. It always has. But so does 7+3, 8+2 and 6+4 etc. and so on...


A person may get to ten differently than you do, but that doesn't make them a jerk, an idiot, a traitor, a deplorable ... whatever. What gives anyone the right to judge, call names, offend, verbally abuse, and even get physically aggressive with another person because they arrive at ten differently?


Furthermore, I have to ask, if a person has: b. a medical condition or disability that prevents a face covering - should they be in public during a pandemic?

It all goes back to the power of choice. In a previous blog-post Signs Of The Times here, go into more detail about how Americans treat the power of choice.


American's call something unconstitutional when they feel like they have lost their personal power to choose themselves. To Attorney Barr's point, a person has the personal power to choose to wear clothes or not wear clothes in public but there are consequences for the latter. Times change and there are consequences in Texas now for not wearing a mask as well. Last I checked, in Texas, a first offense is a warning, second is a fine of $250.


I also explain in Signs Of The Times, how service workers dislike the masks just as much as anyone else, so what's the point in berating them over it? This pandemic is literally a problem worldwide, not just in Arkansas or Oklahoma. You pick a gregarious bartender from a small town in Arkansas to be your verbal punching bag over this? This Is Not OK!


So, this man, and many others around our charming town, make a choice to leave their residence in OK, come to AR, visit the public establishments that choose to remain open, drink and carouse, and then get belligerent with private business workers because that worker "allegedly took away their personal power to choose to wear/not wear a mask in that business."


Annalea didn't take that choice away. Her boss, the business owner, did that with a "mask-required policy" that, as an employee, Annalea is expected to follow. If this man listened to Annalea instead of insulting and over-talking her, he would've learned that she was simply asking him to sit down in front of his food and beverage since he doesn't have a mask on and to please wear his mask when he is moving about the place for any reason.


(note: this article features a local bar, but I can only imagine the mask management stories happening at other places around town; shops, guesthouses, hotels, restaurants, galleries, ghost tours, the town trolleys, etc. Bars and restaurants seem to be getting hit pretty hard and that is because the consumption of alcohol is known to have an unfavorable impact on a person's ability to make wise choices.)


Where things get truly complicated is mask enforcement. Yes, it's expected that employees follow policies but if business owners don't come up with some kind of strategy forward around the enforcement of proper mask-management in their establishment, service workers are going to make a finite choice of where they don't want to work, and what they do want to do in order to earn a living in these new times.


What saddens me most in all of this is when the burden of enforcement action falls on the shoulders of the service workers to act on behalf of that business owner.


Back in the day, ID management strategies pushed club owners to hire a door person who specifically handled the checking of IDs and the extraction of belligerent customers and the underaged. This position (a.k.a the bouncer) eventually became the norm in that industry.


So, how is mask management any different? Door Personnel are needed more now than ever before in all types of businesses far and wide, as well as here in Eureka Springs.


We actually ARE all in this together and we could make things a whole lot easier if we make simple choices each day to do our part: wear clothes, wear a mask, be nice to others and help people out!

Please Note: The actual man from Oklahoma made the choice to hastily depart in a fit of anger after he verbally abused, insulted and berated Annalea for doing her job. This fine gentleman stepped in as an actor for a photo opp, and to provide illustration for this blog-post. Thank you.

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