For a 24-Hour Mask Rule
To the editor:
The best defenses we have against the coronavirus are mask wearing, social distancing, and hand washing. Yet as businesses open and more tourists come to Provincetown, our policies and enforcement are inadequate if we want to remain a Covid-free community.
The town only requires masks on a short stretch of Commercial Street between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., despite the fact that people are on the streets before and after that window. Signage is insufficient and easy to miss or ignore: 8½-by-11 pink sheets tacked to poles, with small print. The other day I drove through that stretch of town and observed a compliance rate of about 50 percent. Many people had masks around their necks or only covering their mouths.
I live on Commercial Street in the East End. The mask ordinance doesn’t extend that far, so leaving my home is a potentially dangerous exercise, as I try to steer clear of people who are not wearing masks or maintaining social distance.
What is needed, at the least, is a 24-hour outdoor mask requirement in town and prominent signage. To that end, I sent a proposal to Town Manager Robin Craver outlining a public information campaign that reflects Provincetown culture, using banners hung across Commercial Street. She reacted favorably to the idea; now I hope to see something done to address this issue. Many town residents supporting better signage and more comprehensive policies could help make those changes a reality.
Some may say that reminding people of the pandemic is a downer, that mentioning it might scare tourists away. But turning a Covid-free community into a hotspot, or our visitors finding themselves in the ICU after their idyllic P’town vacation is a bigger downer.
What New York Learned
To the editor:
Back in March, the country pitied New York City (and laughed at us) because of our rate of coronavirus infection. By May we, along with most of the Northeast, including Massachusetts, had flattened the curve.
It seems the rest of the country enjoyed laughing but did not understand that it could happen there. Now it is.
What we learned in New York was physical distancing and masks stifled the virus.
I spent four weeks on the Outer Cape in May and June and then had to go back to New York City for work.
What I saw and am now seeing in both places terrified me. Contractors coming into homes not wearing masks. People in stores not wearing masks. People in beach parking lots not wearing masks.
Masks work. I am afraid that we somehow think we beat this.
Until and unless there is a vaccine, masks and physical distancing are what will keep most of us healthy.
Robert S. Johnson
New York City and Wellfleet
Keep Cumby’s Dry
To the editor:
While I’m all for more booze in more places, the bid by large corporate entities like Cumberland Farms to sell alcohol [June 18, page A1] is an unfortunate development.
Not only are these monstrosities major eyesores and death knells for independently owned gas stations and small convenient stores (like the Village Green in Eastham), they may very well put the little liquor stores out of business, too.
Many people will claim to support the small stores, but when laziness gets the best of them, they’ll get their alcohol in the same place they pump their gas or buy the Provincetown Independent (Wellfleet and Eastham Cumberland Farms), and that will eventually become a habit.
Cambridge and Eastham