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Give workers a break — don't argue about wearing masks

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The coronavirus pandemic has us all on edge. We worry about health, our jobs, our education and, of course, paying the bills. We also miss socializing.

The stress at times shows itself in public over the issue of wearing protective face coverings to reduce the spread of the virus.

Those who are strong believers in wearing masks and those who see it as unnecessary, maybe even usurping personal freedoms, sometimes clash. It can get heated, and it’s taken a toll on all of us.

It’s time to put an end to public bickering about the COVID-19 rules in place and follow them — particularly when those rules are enforceable laws.

If folks want to kvetch with friends, post on social media or lobby their elected representatives for change, do so.

But breaking the law isn’t helpful. And in Washington state, the law on wearing masks is now very clear.

Businesses in Washington, as of last week, are required to refuse service to customers who don’t wear facial coverings. The law prohibits allowing a customer to enter a business, or conducting business with a customer if they are not wearing a facial covering, in any public space, indoor or outdoors, according to The Associated Press.

Violations are a gross misdemeanor and businesses risk fines and losing their business license if they don’t comply.

Gov. Jay Inslee issued the order in response to a spike in the number of new coronavirus cases statewide, including many counties east of the Cascades.

It’s a reasonable move given the need to keep the virus from spreading further.

Still, we understand many don’t agree, and are angry about having to wear masks.

But yelling at workers, managers or owners at stores and restaurants, perhaps creating a scene, is just plain wrong — even childish. The workers didn’t make the rules, and they didn’t hire on as de facto law enforcement officers. They just want to do their jobs and earn a living — please let them.

Again, take your concerns to those who can influence state policy, such as state representatives, senators and the governor.

And, until the mask mandate is rescinded, wear one when in public.

It’s an easy thing to do, it’s the law and the preponderance of the evidence suggests it saves lives.