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Debate: How community members feel about wearing face masks in public

Posted at 11:42 PM, May 08, 2020

There's a big debate over a little piece of fabric.

In order to enter, many businesses require you to wear a mask as a way of protecting workers and customers, but at the Little Caesars in Santa Maria, a customer who refused to wear a mask got so mad police said he broke the front window of the business.

Santa Maria Police said they arrested a man after he broke the window of Little Caesar's Thursday night. The customer was upset he wasn't allowed inside the business without a mask, according to officials.

So the big question: Is wearing a mask in public necessary? Some people think so.

“It’s kind of helping everybody out, that's why I wear mine,” said Kent Whittaker, who wore a mask to pick up pizza. “If you do have the virus and it helps in not spreading it, then it's the right thing to do."

Masks seem to be everywhere -- at the grocery store, the beach, in the car.

Some people even make them look fashionable, but it's not part of everyone's wardrobe.

“I am 100-percent against it. I work in a people business, I am a people person, I don't want to talk to a mask,” said Christine Miller, an Arroyo Grande resident.

Miller said she thinks wearing a mask is dehumanizing and uncomfortable.

She's letting people know she doesn't have to wear one with a placard that says: “I am exempt from all regulations mandating face masks in public."

The use of masks can be confusing, however. In March, the U.S. Surgeon General said people didn't have to wear face coverings in public then made a U-turn and asked the CDC to investigate the effectiveness after learning people could be asymptomatic.

Currently, the CDC recommends people wear face masks in public when social distancing is not possible, but some people see it as just that -- a recommendation.

“People should do what they feel is important to do, and it should be an individual's decision,” said Duane Young, an Arroyo Grande resident.

Duane added that social distancing is a good enough protection method.

Others, on the other hand, view wearing a face covering as a personal responsibility.

“It's not politics and it’s not numbers. It’s about are you willing to be that person that may have passed it on to somebody who could not fight it,” said Marc Meisenheimer,who wore his mask on his coffee run. “I'm not going to be that person.”

Goleta, Pismo Beach and Grover Beach are among cities currently considering mask requirements.

San Luis Obispo County Public Health officials said Friday the county mirrors CDC guidelines when it comes to wearing a mask in public; however, it is not requiring the them since there is not enough information to prove the use is effective or harmful.