In today’s column, I am going to go back to the basics. Our numbers in Yates County remain good, but....

I am worried that the numbers may not be giving us the complete picture. There are some who have had Covid symptoms, but stayed home and never got tested. There are also some who are not aware of their infection, but may be spreading the virus.

You may have noticed the increase in traffic and the influx of cars with out of State licenses. We, of course, see this every year as snowbirds return home and tourists come to our beautiful area. Many are arriving from States with active Covid infections and from real “Hot Spots”. People from these States (mostly in the South and Southwest) are required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival(based on New York State regulation). Obviously there is no way to “police” this, but what EVERYONE can do is to protect others by wearing a mask. The mask should cover your mouth AND NOSE, and should be worn whenever you are outside your home, especially when going indoors where it may be difficult to socially distance from others.

Remember, masks protect other people from your germs (think of a surgeon wearing a mask during an operation so their patient isn’t infected), and of course others wearing masks are protecting you. 

If you work in a business where you have direct contact with your customers, your wearing a mask shows that you respect them and that you want to protect them from becoming ill.

I’ve heard the cry of “Constitutional Rights” regarding masks. I can assure you that the Constitution is absolutely silent about the wearing of masks, and nowhere in the Constitution does it give you the right to infect others. In fact, the entire concept of Public Health is based on the fact that there are times that individual rights must take a back seat to the “public good”. This is one of those times.

Really, though, this is more about common courtesy than about rights. There are things we do for each other because we live in a common community. Some of these acts are as simple as holding open a door for someone else, or letting a car go ahead of you, or stopping to let a pedestrian cross the street. Think of wearing a mask in the same way. It’s a simple act that shows respect and caring...and may just save someone’s life. Penn Yan is a caring Village. We hold fund raisers for people who are ill, and help each other out when times are tough.

Well, times are tough right now. And all we need to do is to wear a mask to show we care…