Are Anti-Mask Masks Legal? by Jonathan Turley

People are rebelling in all sorts of ways against Covid-19 totalitarianism. It’s a trend that should be encouraged. From Jonathan Turley at jonathanturley.org:

There is a new form of protests sweeping across the country as individuals put on anti-Mask masks to defy mandatory mask rules. The anti-masks are made of thin material, mesh or even crochet and are advertised as having no protective qualities for Covid-19.  The question is whether they are legal.  They appear to be so.

A popular video shows a man wearing a mesh mask to a Tampa Walmart and saying “It was almost like not wearing a mask at all. Nobody cared. That’s because it’s not about safety. It’s all about compliance.”

Most laws like Alabama‘s only refer to a “covering” not a mask with protective qualities:

2. Facial coverings for individuals. Effective July 16, 2020 at 5:00 P.M., each person shall wear a mask or other facial covering that covers his or her nostrils and mouth at all times when within six feet of a person from another household in any of the following places: an indoor space open to the general public, a vehicle operated by a transportation service, or an outdoor public space where ten or more people.

Maryland requires masks:

“Facial coverings for individuals.

Effective July 16, 2020 at 5:00 P.M., each person shall wear a mask or other facial covering that covers his or her nostrils and mouth at all times when within six feet of a person from another household in any of the following places: an indoor space open to the general public, a vehicle operated by a transportation service, or an outdoor public space where ten or more people are gathered.”

Even that is subject to exceptions. However, consider the definition of face coverings:

“Face Covering” means a covering that fully covers a person’s nose and mouth, but is not a Medical-Grade Mask. The term “Face Covering” includes, without limitation, scarves and bandanas.”

A mesh mask does cover the fact and, since scarves can be used, there is no effort to indicate a threshold protective level or dimension.  There are vast differences between masks and stores are unlikely to want to police the sufficiency of masks, particularly if the states do not specify minimal standards.  Even creative work on the noun “cover” does not help much.  Oxford defines it as simply “a thing that is put over or on another thing.”  A permeable material still covers the mouth and nose. It just does little else.

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