One Shot at a Time: Paying lip service to the virus


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Zach Miners,

Last week, I was at a bar in Glenrock for an event I was covering and I noticed a sign posted to the wall inside the bar room.

The notice told patrons to practice social distancing and to stay six feet apart.

It’s an important public safety notice. Short of wearing a face covering or not going out at all, it’s the best thing to do to prevent community spread of the coronavirus.

The problem is, practically no one in the bar was doing it. The bar itself was nearly completely full, with each stool less than several feet away from the next. It would be practically impossible to practice social distancing inside the bar even if you wanted to.

And by listening to people’s conversations, I could tell not everyone there lived in the same house.

This was not an isolated incident, but I am calling it out because it was one of the starkest examples I’ve seen of this clash between what businesses or establishments are asking or telling people to do, versus what customers are actually doing.

When I attended Hogfest in Glenrock in July, there were similar signs posted around the complex. But many attendees embraced each other upon seeing their longtime friends at the event.

Some attendees at Hogfest actually mocked the social distancing recommendation.

In Douglas, the Safeway grocery store began requiring customers to wear face coverings in late July. But every time I shop there, I see customers not wearing them. I have never seen a staff member ask a customer to wear a mask.

All this, in my mind, amounts to paying lip service to the virus on the part of businesses. It is also a big waste of paper to print out notices and flyers mandating or recommending behaviors that are not followed or enforced. 

Because a rule which is not enforced is not a rule at all.

Taking concrete steps to accommodate social distancing rules or enforcing face covering rules would help keep the community safe and healthy.

If it is a bar, maybe remove every other stool. Or perhaps consider what the Miners and Stockmen’s Steakhouse in Hartville did: Put small tables in front of the bar so people can distance from other groups.

If there’s a face covering mandate, even a small step like asking maskless customers why they’re not wearing one, or giving them one to put on, could lead to greater numbers of patrons wearing them.

There are risks. In recent months reports have surfaced across the country of businesses facing angry or even violent customers who refuse to wear face coverings. Businesses need to handle these sorts of situations carefully.

By merely posting signs and not actually doing anything about them, businesses are not heeding the call this public health crisis demands.


Glenrock Independent

Physical Address:506 W. Birch, Glenrock, WY 82637 Mailing Address: PO Box 109, Douglas, WY 82633 Phone: (307) 436-2211

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