Governor Mills today issued yet another order regarding face coverings in public in response to several days of increased transmission counts. This time, she has repealed the "social distancing exception" of previous orders, meaning that whenever a person is in any public setting that person must wear a mask regardless of your ability to social distance, including in outdoor settings.
Wait, what now? That's right, if you are in public you must be masked up at all times despite the distance you can keep from other people. Now if you find this odd, then don't worry it's not just you. Thus far the government and their experts have been telling people to stay six feet apart and to mask up when you can't keep that distance. This approach was supposed to prevent people carrying the virus (particularly when asymptomatic), from unknowingly spreading it to other people.
This is because, the CDC has explained, COVID spreads through "respiratory droplets," which are small particles that are expelled from the body when someone coughs, sneezes, or even talks. These droplets can be breathed in by other people, and we have been told that wearing masks can decrease the risk of breathing these droplets in.
Until now, we have also been told that social distancing is an effective method for preventing the spread of COVID-19. The implication of this new order is that social distancing is either not effective in the absence of a mask or that the Governor doesn't really care at this point whether it is effective or nor.
Personally, I find it patently ridiculous that the Governor has crafted an order which will require a lone person walking on a sidewalk to be wearing a mask or else potentially be subject to arrest or detention. Sidewalks. That is not an exaggeration, the order literally singles out sidewalks as one of several public outdoor spaces where you are required to where a mask. So whether you are the only human walking down the street in Bath, or if you are standing around Monument Square in Portland without another soul in sight, you are still required to mask up to protect all those people who aren't around you from potential COVID transmission.
For a while now, the Governor's order at least had the appearance of taking deliberate and calculated actions aimed at achieving a legitimate goal. This, however, is ludicrous. This is what happens when the appearance of taking any action at all is valued over taking actions that are actually effective.
So you can't go for a stroll down the street or be in a park by yourself anymore without a mask on, but at least you can still sit down at a table in a restaurant with a small group of people to eat, drink, and be merry without one. That's a much safer activity I suppose.