(This article originally appeared in The Guardian)
I spent a few weeks in Florida this past January, right in the middle of the pandemic. Florida has no mask mandate. Although there are city and county-level requirements, the state’s governor suspended all fines and penalties associated with non-compliance back in September. So people are free to do what they want.
I’m not going to argue whether this is good policy or not. I wear a mask, but no one is ever going to fully agree on whether governments should require their citizens to wear one. One thing is for certain: not having a state mask mandate makes it tougher for small businesses in that state.
Take, for example, Picos, a family owned independent restaurant located not in Florida but in Houston, Texas. As we know by now, Texas’s governor recently lifted his state’s mask mandate which means that citizens aren’t required to wear masks anywhere if they choose not to. However, the policy – like Florida’s – was left open for businesses to decide.