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BROWARD COUNTY, Florida, July 21, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Officials in a South Florida community issued a new set of rules last week that residents must follow in the name of containing COVID-19, including a provision that tasks homeowners with enforcing the new rules on private property, including adhering to “facial covering requirements.”
Broward County’s Emergency Order 20-22 imposes an 11 PM curfew, limits gatherings at private residences to ten people, requires that masks be worn at gyms, and forbids establishments from serving customers who aren’t wearing masks, among other measures.
“I’m imploring the public to take responsibility — personal responsibility — to safeguard the health and well-being of each other,” Mayor Dale Holness said, Local 10 reports. “It looks grave from where we are.” Broward County’s population is about 2 million. It has reported 36,913 positive cases and 477 deaths, a mere .02% of the population, since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.
Of particular concern is a passage that declares: “All persons who reside on any residential property, whether single family or multi-family, and irrespective of whether they own or rent the property, must ensure that all persons on the residential property, including guests, comply with all applicable guidelines of any Broward County Emergency Order, including the facial covering requirements.”
The language effectively tasks private citizens with enforcing the order in their own home, including shutting down gatherings of more than ten people, and, in the case of housing developments, prohibiting multiplayer board or card games. It’s unclear what impact the clarification “including the facial covering requirements” will have, as the order does not list any such requirements for private residences, but the inclusion has provoked fears it will be interpreted to require residents to wear masks inside their own homes.
28 states plus the District of Columbia have imposed statewide orders to wear masks in stores and restaurants, and on public transportation. Even in states and localities without such mandates, most national retailers now require that masks be worn at all their locations nationwide.
“As an epidemiologist, all too aware of the microbial multitudes that we all contain, I’ve been carrying a pair of gloves and an N95 respirator in my backpack for years and agree with the general approach of using whatever preventive measures are appropriate as states open up,” writes Chris von Csefalvay, Vice President of Special Projects at Starschema. “Yet the evidence is hardly strong enough to elevate mask-wearing into the epitome of moral behavior. Doing so reflects a greater preoccupation with the psychological effect of masks—perhaps as a restoration of control in the face of an unseen and often perplexing enemy with no cure and no prophylaxis—than with their scientific reality.”